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UHV still alive despite losing pitcher's duel

By BY THOMAS R. MARTINEZ - tmartinez@vicad.com
May 7, 2010 at 12:07 a.m.

Shorty O'Bryant reacts after the Jaguars lost to Cal State San Marcos in Friday's tournament game. The Jaguars nearly tied the game in the seventh inning but will instead face Simon Fraseron Saturday to stave off elimination.

If you goUHV faces Simon-Fraser at 11 a.m. Saturday at Burdge Field.

The winner advances to the conference championship game against Cal State-San Marcos at 1:30 p.m.

The scene: The bottom of the seventh inning, and Brittany Parker's University of Houston-Victoria's softball team faced a 1-0 deficit.

The Jaguars were desperate for a run, facing Cal State San Marcos fireballer Brenna Sandberg, who was one out from throwing her second-consecutive no-hitter.

Parker was watching it unfold from the on-deck circle. Brittany Boren had just scratched out a hard-earned walk and stood on first base. Tasha Rotramel, who pitched a gem of her own, was at bat.

"I wanted her to get on so badly," Parker said. "I was just going to wait for (Sandberg) to give me a good one and just cream it."

Unfortunately for Parker and UHV, she never got that opportunity. Sandberg completed her no-hitter, inducing Rotramel to pop out to shortstop.

The loss sends the Jaguars into the loser's bracket and keeps them one win away from an automatic berth in to the NAIA national championship tournament in Decator, Ala. On Saturday, UHV will face Simon Fraser for the second time in the tournament. UHV beat Simon Fraser 3-1 on Thursday.

Parker, a junior from Carthage, has been in a platoon position for most of this year. She's making the most of her opportunity for this tournament because of the injury to Courtney Pettit, who's out for at least the next week with what the team is calling a sprained right pointer finger.

"Coming in you never know how much you're going to play," Parker said. "It's hard to come in from high school or JUCO, where you play a lot. Then here, your (playing) time changes."

Parker tries to keep her head in every game whether she's playing or not, she said. When she's not playing, she cheers her teammates on from the bench and tries to help out however she can.

"You just have to always be ready," Parker said. "You can't let how much you play faze you, because when they need you have to go in and perform."

She wanted the chance with the game on the line because she thought she had figured out Sandberg's timing. She was ready to pick up her team and help make up for Pettit's loss.

Sandberg "puts her pitches in a lot of tough places. We just needed to be more selective," Parker said.

Still, even with the tough loss, Parker was proud of her teammates.

"Our team did pretty good overall. I thought we were going to have it until that one little mistake, one mistake," she said.

As a part-timer, Parker doesn't have as high profile as say, Rotramel or slugger Allison Hinton or three-year player Brittany Faas.

But she is easy to spot.

The tall, lanky outfielder is the one with the black streaks on her face, like a warrior ready for battle.

She used to apply in straight lines eye black, the black lines athletes wear under their eyes to deflect the sun.

"I would always sweat and wipe it away," Parker said. "It would just smear."

So she went to purposely smearing the eye black before the games. "Now it looks like it has a meaning."

NOTES: You can call Tasha Rotramel the queen of tough losses this year.

She was 15-10 in the regular season, with many of those losses coming against top teams like Simon Fraser and Lubbock Christian.

"She has been our work horse the entire season, facing these tough, top-ranked teams," Lambeth said. "Her record might not show what a great pitcher she is, but she is a phenomenal pitcher."

In the loss to Cal State San Marcos, Rotramel threw a pretty good game, limiting the Cougars to three hits (two of those infield hits) and the one unearned run.

"After a game like that, no one needs to put their heads down," Rotramel said. "It was a great game. We just played the No. 5 team in the nation."

Rotramel is confident the Jaguars will get to face the Cougars again.

"It was just an awesome game," Rotramel said. "It came down to the little things today, and we just didn't pull it out."

Shawne Rotramel, Tasha's father, has no doubt his daughter can rebound.

"I tell her to pick her head up. She's worked hard all these years. She has nothing to hang her head about," he said.

Shawne Rotramel says his daughter can have a short memory, something they've worked on together since she was a little-leaguer. "This one is done, it's over with. It's time to move on," he said.

Association of Independent Institutions Conference Championship Tournament Day 2

Cal State San Marcos 1, UHV 0

CSSM 000 001 0 - 1 3 0

UHV 000 000 0 - 0 0 3

Tasha Rotramel and Brittany Faas. Brenna Sandberg and Elizabeth Bush. Highlights: UHV: Brittany Boren 0-1, 2BB. Rotramel 7IP, 3H, 0ER. CSSM: Sandberg 7IP, no-hitter. Alicia Ingram 1-for-3 R; Elizabeth Bush 1-for-3; Ashley Estepa 1-for-3.

Other games

LSUA 5, Ohio Domincan 2 (ODC eliminated)

ODC 110 000 0 - 2 10 2

LSUA 401 000x - 5 5 0

WP: Rowe. LP: Stanton. Highlights: LSUA: Savoie 2-for-3 R; Dixon 1-for-3 2R, 2RBI. ODC: Erin Sutter 1-for-3 R; Kylee Crislip 2-for-4 RBI.

Simon Fraser 6, British Columbia 1 (BC eliminated)

SFU 003 300 x - 6 6 2

UBC 000 001 0 - 1 6 2

WP:Pourier. LP: Allison Hipgrave. Highlights: UBC: Jess Hodge 1-for-3; Courtney O'Connor 0-for-3 R. SFU: Harris 1-for-3 2 RBI; Haberl 1-for-4 2RBI.

Simon-Fraser 9, LSUA 1 (LSUA eliminated)

LSUA 100 00 - 1 4 2

SFU 063 0x - 9 4 2

WP: Ashley Hadlaand. LP: Megan Rowe. Highlights: SF: Leah Riske 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI. J. Martin 1-for-1 3RBI. LSUA: A. Savoie 1-for-3 R. J. Pocorello 1-for-3; J. Dixon 1-for-2

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