Fueled by their dominant win over Los Banos in round one, the No. 6 seeded Kimball High softball team’s season was brought to an end by a terrific defensive display from the defending CIF SJS Division 3 champions in No. 3 Vista del Lago last Thursday.
The Jaguars boasted a strong offense with 154 runs scored throughout their 10-game Valley Oak League (VOL) campaign. However, the Eagles — who won the Capital Athletic League (CAL) with a perfect 12-0 record — had all the answers for the Kimball stars in a 4-0 shutout win.
The Eagles embarked on their quest towards a title defense on an eight-game win streak and having allowed just 49 runs during league play. Senior pitcher Olivia Manchester did an outstanding job holding the Jags to just six hits over seven innings pitched.
Manchester led her team to victory by striking out seven and walking just two Kimball batters. Sophomore Kaeliana DePerio had the most success at the place, going 2-4. Elsewhere, junior Elysia Duarte went 1-4. Freshman Emma Coronado, senior Sophia Coronado and sophomore Paulina Sanchez all went 1-3.
The Eagles’ offense mustered up just two more hits against Jags’ ace, sophomore Alexa Contreras, however they were able to take a 1-0 lead at the bottom of the second and hold their visitors at bay for the remainder of the game.
Contreras pitched all six innings for the Jags and gave up four earned runs and two walks while striking out two.
The matchup was very even for large parts of the game with Kimball always threatening to tie things up. The quarterfinal was set to go all the way down to the wire before Vista del Lago scored three unanswered runs in the sixth inning to put a dent in the Jags’ hopes.
The hosts shut out the Jags at the top of the seventh to put the game away, punching their ticket to a semifinal clash against No. 2 Ponderosa this week.
Entering the post-season red hot, the Tracy High softball team felt like the sky was the limit for them after they rolled over Central Valley 8-3 in the CIF SJS Division 1 first round last Tuesday.
Seeded at No. 7, the Bulldogs breezed through their well-earned home game against the Hawks and were rewarded with a rendezvous against the No. 2 Granite Bay last Thursday.
Having won four straight must-win games to finish off Tri-City Athletic League (TCAL) play in the regular season — clinching their first championship since 2019 — the ‘Dogs were battle tested enough to go to Granite Bay and play their game to keep their run going.
However, champions of the Sierra Foothill League (SFL) — the Grizzlies had lofty ambitions of their own and they were able to lock down an excellent Tracy offense in a 5-2 win.
Things got off to a perfect start for the visitors, though. The ‘Dogs took an early 2-0 lead at the top of the first inning when RBI singles from seniors Alyssa Donovan and Ava Mendoza scored freshman Emalee Cargill and sophomore Leilani Benson respectively.
The visitors took a 2-1 lead out of the first but, unfortunately for them, they would not be allowed another run for the remainder of the afternoon.
Granite Bay pitcher Avery Seva regrouped excellently after the slow start and allowed just seven hits over the course of the game. Only one of the Tracy runs was earned and she struck out 10 while walking just three to take control of the game for the Grizzlies.
At the other end, the ‘Dogs still had to feel good. They built their league championship team on the back off exemplary defense and being in the lead on the road was a very good spot to them.
However, the Grizzlies had enough fire power to ask very serious questions of sophomore Elisa Galli and her running mates.
Galli got the start and pitched all six innings for the visitors. She allowed 10 hits, five earned runs and one walk while striking out seven in the narrow loss. The ‘Dogs’ defense held up well but the Grizzlies were able to bend their resistance just enough to conduct a pair of two-run innings for the win.
The hosts scored two unanswered in the third inning and then two more in the sixth to put the game on ice while the ‘Dogs offense was kept quiet. They were led by a two-run homer from Leilani Terrazas which snatched all of the momentum.
Liliana Nunez and Kate Vincent both went 2-3 in the win for the Grizzlies. Drew McKown went 2-4.
Donovan and Mendoza led the Bulldogs with 2-3 outings at the plate. Cargill and senior Malissa George were kept uncharactericstally quiet by Seva which proved to be a major key to Granite Bay’s victory. Cargill had no hits on the day while George went 1-3. Sophomore Leilani Benson went 1-4 and sophomore Reanna Zuniga went 1-3.
Granite Bay will face No. 3 Oak Ridge in the D1 semifinals this week.
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