Spring break tournaments provide teams chances to hone their strengths and identify weaknesses before hitting the home stretch of league play.
Rancho's softball team saw plenty of both in an 11-9 loss to Maranatha (Calif.) in a third-place bracket first-round game Friday in the Spring Jamboree at Majestic Park.
The good were two-out rallies in the fifth and sixth innings that left the Rams holding a 9-7 lead entering the bottom of the sixth. The bad were eight Rancho errors, including three in the sixth as Maranatha scored four runs, three unearned, to rally for the win.
"The big thing that we take out of this game is probably just simple softball," Rancho coach Michelle Van Buren said. "When we would get up, we would come back defensively and we would make simple softball mistakes (on) a routine grounder, a routine fly ball, not hitting your cut.
"Those are the things we kind of learned -- no matter how much you hit the ball and score runs off them, you still have to play simple softball on defense."
The Rams (4-8-1) scored three runs in the fifth, all with two outs, to go ahead 5-4, taking the lead on Ashtan Orlan's two-run single.
Rancho center fielder Tessa Davila made a basket catch for the second out in the bottom of the fifth, but the Rams were unable to get out of the inning when Maranatha's Kathryn Chevalier was hit by a pitch. Courtesy runner Spencer Barry-Jenkins stole second base and scored on a fielding error to tie the game 5-5. The Minutemen then took a 7-5 lead on a two-run double by Annie Diehl.
Rancho went up 9-7 with two outs in the top of the sixth on Chanel Eliason's two-run double to left field.
Rancho reliever Aly Lamboo struck out Barry-Jenkins for the second out with the game tied 9-9 in the bottom of the sixth, but the Rams committed consecutive fielding errors before Diehl hit a two-run single through the right side to give Maranatha an 11-9 lead.
"The last inning I think we had three or four errors in the one inning, and with a team that can hit like that, you have to be able to make the simple, routine plays," Van Buren said.
The Rams went quietly in the top of the seventh, with a strikeout and two groundouts to end the game.
Orlan went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Brandy Marlett, McKinzi Vega and Eliason added two hits each for Rancho, which lost 6-2 to Bellarmine-Jefferson (Calif.) earlier Friday to wrap pool play.
Contact reporter Tristan Aird at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @tristanaird.