San Mateo claims 2022 CCCAA softball championship

The College of San Mateo Bulldogs claimed the 2022 CCCAA title.
The College of San Mateo Bulldogs claimed the 2022 CCCAA title.

BAKERSFIELD, CA - The College of San Mateo Bulldogs are the 2022 CCCAA Softball Champions.

The Bulldogs used a five-run first inning to take the lead and never looked back, beating the Sierra College Wolverines 8-1 to win their first-ever state championship.

The title for the Bulldogs was long overdue. This year marked the eighth-straight time the Bulldogs qualified for the state tournament but they had fallen short each time before. Their 2022 title is not only the first softball title for the Bulldogs but also marks the first-ever CCCAA team championship for a women's program at the College of San Mateo. The Bulldogs finish the season with a record of 44-4.

The Bulldogs were led by tournament MVP Lafu Malepeai. The left fielder had an extraordinary week and the deciding game was no exception. She hit a long solo shot over the right-field fence in the sixth inning to add an insurance run for the Bulldogs. She also did damage on the base path scoring three times and swiping a base. Malepeai finished the week with 11 hits, eight RBIs, a .611 batting average, two home runs, one triple, and a double.

Pitcher Kealani Cardona threw a gem of a game finishing with no earned runs and two strikeouts to finish her season with a record of 21-4. Designated player Chloe Moffitt led San Mateo with a pair of RBIs to go with two hits and a run. Bubba Fa'aita finished 2-3 at the plate with an RBI, one run, and a walk.

The Bulldogs jumped on the Wolverines early rallying off five hits to take the early 5-0 advantage. Fa'aita, Moffitt, and Gabi Perez hit three-straight RBI singles to get San Mateo rolling. Moffitt scored later in the inning off a Sierra error and Celeste Casillas delivered the highlight of the rally when she doubled in Leila Velasquez to put the Bulldogs firmly in control of the game. Velasquez put on a showcase defensively during the week to earn tournament Gold Glove honors.

First basemen Sarah Giles extended the lead in the fourth when she plated Malepeai. Malepeai's solo shot and an RBI single by Moffitt in the sixth inning firmly put the game out of reach.

Darcy Gillan provided the lone run for the Wolverines when she doubled in Eliana Enriquez in the third inning.

Sierra College had a spectacular tournament. The Wolverines battled back after losing their tournament opener and won five straight elimination games including a 7-6 win in championship Sunday's opener to force the winner-take-all finale. Sierra College ends their season 40-11 overall.

The Wolverines were dominant in Sunday's opener led by a pair of RBIs from Meadow Topete and Emily Walker, and a stellar outing by Amaya Sutton. Sutton won four games during the tournament to earn the tournament's most valuable pitcher honors. Sierra jumped out to a 7-0 lead before the Bulldogs started rallying back when Giles hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning. San Mateo got to within a run of Sierra in the seventh inning following a Fa'aita RBI single that brought in Logan Bonetti before a ground out ended the game setting up the finale.

(Anthony Avila, CCCAA)

2022 CCCAA Championship All-Tournament Team

Most Valuable Player  Lafu Malepeai College of San Mateo
Most Valuable Pitcher Amaya Sutton Sierra College
Best Hitter Emily Rush Cypress College
Gold Glove Leila Velasquez College of San Mateo
Pitcher (3) Emily Rosas Santa Ana College
  Grace Pieson Mt. San Antonio College
  Serena Navarrete Mt. San Antonio College
Infielders (4) Alyssa Huerta Cypress College
  Eliana Enriquez Sierra College
  Darcy Gillan Sierra College
  Celeste Casillas College of San Mateo
Outfielders (4) Bubba Fa'aita College of San Mateo
  Meadow Topete Sierra College
  Emily Walker Sierra College
  Aleix Rangel Santa Ana College
Utility (1) Chloe Moffitt College of San Mateo
First Base (1) Paige Shafer Cypress College
Catchers (2) Laney Berkowitz Buttte College
  Adriana Martinez San Jose City College
Wild Card (2) Alyssa Yslas Santiago Canyon College
  Jada Bolar Sierra College