TEMECULA -- Great Oak saw its hopes of moving into the main draw of the CIF Southern Section Division I softball playoffs dashed on Tuesday, as it surrendered a three-run lead in a 5-4 loss to Corona.
The Panthers rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth to erase the deficit and get the would be game-winning run across the plate.
"(Corona) came and made timely hits," Great Oak head coach Doug Appel said. "Whenever you reach the playoffs, it's going to come down to who can execute the best. They were able to execute offensively today.
Corona (16-14) had nine hits, but only scored in two innings, relying heavily on the pitching of sophomore Emily Rodgers. Rodgers mixed speeds effectively, pitching a complete game allowing only six hits while striking out six.
The only inning that proved bumpy for Rodgers was the fourth, when after retiring the games first 10 batters she allowed a single from Danica Mercado. The following batter, senior Kelcey Gomez, immediately capitalized on the opportunity smashing the second pitch she saw over the right-center field fence to give the Wolfpack a one-run lead.
Back-to-back hits from Hannah Dewey and Bobbi Axton in the same inning, then extended the Great Oak advantage to 4-1. It would be the last runs that the Wolfpack would score.
"It took us a while to get going," Appel said. "Kelcey has been hitting the ball hard all year, and we know that we are always one swing away with her. She came through today and generated a spark for us. Generally when we are up 4-1 with two innings to go, we are going to win. We had one offensive inning, and we needed to put more pressure on them then that."
Corona put together four hits in the bottom of the sixth to complete the rally, which included a lead off solo homer from Dawn Tyson and a double from Chelsea Crawley. Loie Kesterson singled in Rogers for the game's winning run.
The contest was played on a wet field from rain earlier in the day, and Appel believed that it proved to be a disadvantage for his team.
"It took away our slap a little," Appel said. "If the ground was a little harder, maybe we would have gotten some more bounces. There was a couple of bang-bang plays today that (if the field was dryer) probably would have been hits."
Great Oak starter Dewey pitch a complete game, allowing nine hits while ringing up seven. Aubrey Conceicao went 2-for-3 with a triple.
Corona will face Orange Lutheran in the first round on Thursday.