Jude Binkley staff writer
After defeating Wiseburn DaVinci by a score of 14-10 last Thursday in the opening round of CIF playoffs, the Normans softball team (10-10-1, 2-7 Ocean League) moved on to the second round where they took on the Mayfield Cubs (12-8, 9-3 Prep League). The game was called after five innings and the Normans were mercy ruled in a 16-1 loss to end their season.
Just like the overcast skies above, the Normans constantly threatened to make it rain, but were unable to get production out of their bats. Their lone hit from the game came from sophomore pitcher Reina Paysinger, who grounded into a single in the first inning. Paysinger then progressed around the bases and was ultimately able to score the Normans’ single run of the game by stealing home after a wild pitch from the Cub’s Jaylin Domingo. Aside from that, the Normans were unable to get on base. Hitting several fly-outs to centerfield was the closest they would get to another runner on base as they had 1-2-3 innings from the 2nd through 5th.
From the Cub’s side, their offense was unstoppable, batting around in the 3rd and 4th innings and scoring in all but the 2nd inning, where an impressive defensive effort by the Normans and a slick strikeout by Paysinger retired the side in three consecutive outs. Alyssa Romo, the Cubs’ shortstop, scored the first two runs of the game off a triple in the first and 3B Julia Domingo knocked in 4 RBIs off two doubles.
Although their final game was a disheartening defeat, players are still proud of their effort this historic season, as this was the first softball team to reach CIF playoffs in over 20 years. Co-captain junior Ava Seccuro was pleased with how far the team has come over the course of the season.
“I think this year especially, our team was a lot more bonded,” Seccuro said. “I think of these girls as even more than my sisters, and I’m going to miss everything about the season. When we made the playoffs, we were completely ecstatic.”
Looking to the future, one of the biggest influences will be sophomore pitcher Reina Paysinger, daughter of coach Vonzie Paysinger. Her consistent pitching and positive attitude has proven her to be a catalyst of energy in the locker room. Paysinger is also proud of how well the team played and progressed.
“We were all very close. So we all knew what we had to do to make each other better and make ourselves better,” Reina said. “So this season, it was really good. I’m really proud of us.”
Co-captain senior Estella “Chosen” Rosen walked off the field with tears in her eyes, having just played her final game for the Normans. Rosen has been a part of the team for the past four seasons, and finally making the playoffs made this year’s team special for her.
“I’m pretty sad. You know, but it was a great last game, it was a great last couple games. I think we’re going to miss the team,” Rosen said. “I think everyone on this team was genuinely just excited to come out and play be a team, and we were all really connected.”