They usually say that parting is such sweet sorrow, but this may not be the case with the 2001 UCSB softball team as it finished its season this past weekend, dropping three in a row to a tough Cal State Northridge squad.
Santa Barbara lost both games of its Saturday doubleheader, 5-0 and 4-3. Then, in senior second baseman Teresa Tolson’s last game as a Gaucho, UCSB fell 5-2.
“We definitely wanted to end the season with a win,” junior second baseman and team co-captain Kim Sawyer said. “You never want to say that you have nothing to look forward to, but it is hard to get motivated when you have no post-season ahead of you.”
Santa Barbara (18-34, 4-17 in the Big West) entered this weekend’s series coming off of six straight losses, three to #9 Cal State Fullerton and three to Utah State this past weekend. Needless to say, the Gauchos were hoping to finish their season on a high note.
Unfortunately, Northridge brought its ringer in to spoil the party.
Rarely does an entire team revolve around one player, but Northridge has a player of such caliber, and her name is Sarah Farnworth. The Matador hurler tossed nineteen scoreless innings, tallied three wins, and added a home run in the three games this weekend.
“She is definitely one of the best pitchers in the league,” sophomore outfielder Ashley Groefsema said. “The [team] was good all around. She did everything. She [pitches] great and she hits great.”
Saturday’s first game was an impressive pitching display from Matador pitching aces Farnworth and Tanya Ledesma, who combined for a one-hit shutout. Farnworth also provided all the run support she would need belting a three-run homer. Northridge cruised to an easy 5-0 blowout.
But the tide would turn in Saturday’s nightcap, as the Gauchos exploded in the seventh inning after remaining dormant for much of the game. Trailing 3-0 and heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, Santa Barbara put together one last rally. Sophomore catcher Jami Trinidad singled in an RBI, and then the Gauchos capitalized on a fielding error and a wild pitch to tie the game.
The score would remain deadlocked until the ninth inning, when CSUN’s Veronica Lopez stepped to the plate and doubled home the winning run. UCSB failed to score in the bottom of the inning, and the team suffered its eighth straight loss, 4-3.
Heading into Sunday’s game, the Gauchos had a bittersweet taste in their mouths. The team obviously was going to play for pride, but Santa Barbara would also play for Tolson, who was playing in her final game at UCSB.
Things looked bleak for the Gauchos, as the team was unable to score any early runs. The Matadors would score all five of their runs in the fourth inning behind back-to-back long balls from Summer Richardson and Colleen Spencer.
But Santa Barbara would not let the sun set on its season so easily, clawing back to score runs in both the sixth and seventh innings on an RBI single from sophomore Natalie Adame and off a Matador error. Unfortunately, it would not be enough as Northridge proved too strong, holding on, 5-2.
Although Tolson ended her career on a losing note, she will always be remembered by her teammates as an exceptional team player and leader.
“She definitely had the best team leadership,” Sawyer said. Sawyer, who knows Tolson better than most because they live together, added, “Everyone looked up to her. She would always fire the team up and you could just see the desire in her eyes every time that she was on the field.”