Rain Could Only Delay Cal Victory over No. 8 Missouri

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Almost 40 hours passed between the last at-bat in the sixth inning of the Cal softball team's game against No. 8 Missouri before the Bears were able to finish the tilt with a 1-0 victory.

The rainy weather the San Diego area saw this past weekend forced multiple changes to No. 15 Cal's scheduled games in the San Diego Classic I. Originally slated to play five games over the three-day tournament, the Bears (5-1) only saw action against the Tigers (1-2) and Santa Barbara (6-2). Both were wins for the Bears.

Friday's matchup against Missouri proved true to expectations, with a scoreless six innings between the two teams.

Cal pitcher Jolene Henderson went head-to-head against the Tigers' Chelsea Thomas, with Henderson allowing only one hit in six innings and Thomas allowing two. Heavy winds and rain proved to be additional challenges.

"I can just ask for a new ball and deal with it," Henderson said of playing in the inclement conditions. "The (rest of the) team can't do that. They did what they had to do and made all of the plays we needed to behind me."

The game was finally called at the top of the sixth, and the precipitation kept the Bears off the dirt until Sunday. The UC Davis, San Diego and Howard games were all cancelled on account of the rain.

While Cal waited for the skies to clear in Southern California, the players worked out and hit in the batting cages. The Bears also had the opportunity to dine with former Cal football player and current Panther head coach Ron Rivera at his restaurant for dinner.

When the game reconvened on Sunday morning, the Bears had no outs, Elia Reid on second base and her twin sister Jamia at bat with a 1-2 count.

Reid swung at Thomas' first pitch and catcher Lisa Simmons dropped the third strike, opening the door for Reid to pedal to first safely. The umpires confirmed the play's legitimacy against claims that she had gotten a piece of the ball on the pitch.

"We expected a lot (from Missouri)," Henderson said. "It was challenging - mentally and physically. Jamia had a lot of pressure on and she really came through. It was big."

Freshman Britt Vonk's hit to second unloaded Elia Reid from third to home to mark the only run of the match.

Against Santa Barbara, the Bears' performance in the fourth inning started and finished their victory.

Jamia Reid kicked things off with a single, followed by Vonk's walk to plate two players early. Jordan Wallace and Jace Williams' fielder's choices left Reid out at home but moved Vonk to third. Catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt's sacrifice fly batted Vonk home, followed by Wallace's run off of outfielder Frani Echavarria's single.

After that, it was defense in the sixth inning that locked away the win. The Gauchos scored one run after a hit and an error that left three stranded on the bases to leave the scoreboard 2-1 at the end of the game.

"I thought it was a successful weekend," Henderson said. "We played with adversity and had to go with the flow. It made us stronger. It wasn't a one-person thing either, because the whole team had to come through to win it all."


Kelly Suckow covers softball. Contact her at [email protected]

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