San Marcos’ Caitlyn Early provided all of the Royals’ runs with a pair of two-run home runs in a Wednesday loss to Buena. Lily Chubb photo

San Marcos lost at home 8-4 in a season-ender to Buena Wednesday, and will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

The Royals finish with a 6-8 Channel League record and 12-15-1 overall.

Caitlyn Early provided all the San Marcos runs with a pair of two-run home runs.

The first came in the bottom of the first inning after Emma Foster led off with a double. Early hit a towering shot straight to left field to put the Royals up 2-0.

Buena answered with a home run in the top of the second, and scored two unearned runs in the third on three San Marcos errors.

With one out in the fifth inning, Royals senior Gigi Gritt walked and Early followed with her second home run, a blast over the centerfield fence to put San Marcos up 4-3.

Buena again responded, this time with a grand slam, in addition to scoring a fifth run, making the score 8-4.

“We hit the ball hard over the last two innings, but the Buena outfielders did a tremendous job running down balls and we were unable to generate any more runs,” San Marcos coach Jeff Swann said.

Tiana Monaghan and Charlotte Hastings also contributed doubles for the Royals.

“Seniors Gigi Gritt and Gracie Verdugo made big contributions in their final game as Royals,” Swann said.

“Verdugo was injured most of the season and made her first start in the circle today going three innings, and allowing just one earned run. She was the heart and soul of our team this year and it was inspiring to see her give it her all, despite still not being 100%. She’s planning to study sociology and play softball at a four-year university, but where that might be is still not decided.

“As for Gritt, her last name says it all,” Swann added.  “Behind the plate, she was a rock and the leadership she gave our team this year was exceptional. She was always the last to leave making sure everything was in order. To cap off her softball career, she singled in the top of the seventh inning in her last at bat as a San Marcos Royal. She will be going to SBCC, and beyond, to pursue a degree in biology with the goal of becoming a licensed Physicians Assistant.”