ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Greyhounds hosted their second consecutive playoff game on Tuesday when they hosted the Woodrow Wilson Bruins from Long Beach, and have advanced to the quarterfinals after winning 5-1.
The Greyhounds (22-3) will now face their first road playoff test this season as they must head to Riverside on Thursday to play Patriot High School (20-6).
After almost throwing back-to-back perfect games this regular season (one hit batter shy), it was hard to imagine that Bailey Doherty could take her game to another level in the playoffs, but she has. In the Greyhounds first-round game in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs, Doherty no-hit St. Bonaventure to help Atascadero cruise to an 8-0 victory. Doherty issued 11 strikeouts and was just one sixth-inning walk away from being perfect again.
It was a game that pitchers across the country would die to have but for Doherty and the Atascadero faithful, it was nothing out of the ordinary.
“It was just a regular day, I was having fun with my teammates,” Doherty said after the game.
While Atascadero’s greatest weapon is undoubtedly the flamethrower connected to Doherty’s right shoulder, their secret sauce is perhaps something entirely different: early inning scoring. The Greyhounds have scored the first run in 19 of their 25 games so far this season, and in those games, they are 19-0.
“We’ve been ahead in almost every game we have played, so when we put that run up and get ahead early and then the girls stand back there and watch Bailey pitch they just have a sense of confidence that they are going to be OK,” Atascadero Head Coach Darrin Traverso said. “When we get that early it’s a completely different feeling in the dugout.”
Atascadero has not scored the first run in only six games this season and
In Tuesday’s second-round game against Woodrow Wilson High, the Greyhounds stuck to the winning script. Claire Lohazya led off the game with a single in the bottom of the first and was later driven in by a Doherty single.
For the first time in weeks, a team began to get hits off of Atascadero’s ace, but the defense was ready.
“We appreciate her pitching but we also love to field and we have her back all the time,” shortstop Bailee Crawford said. “We always have her back.”
The Bruins offense kept the Hounds busy as they tallied six hits over seven innings.
“They were hitting the ball and we had really good defensive of play, my shortstop Bailee Crawford, our outfielder Gabrielle Hinzo was awesome,” Traverso said. “She made two diving catches for sure and at least three really good plays in left field.”
The Hounds added two more runs in the third as Riley Jones and Crawford each hit doubles in the inning and with a 4-0 lead Doherty shut it down.
Atascadero has now advanced to the quarterfinals and will travel to Los Angeles on Wednesday night before playing Harvard-Westlake on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.
(Photo by Sam McMillan)