Monday, May 18, 2015

Sheldon Makes It To D-I Championship Game

Imagine your softball team down 6-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. Now imagine your team ties the game up scoring most of those runs with two outs.

Next, if you can, imagine you head into extra innings and the winning run is on base and it’s up to you to come through with two outs.

For Sheldon’s Sarah Fukishima she didn’t imagine any of this at all on Monday night. In fact, she was right in the middle of all the dramatics that happened for her and her Huskies teammate.

Fukishima had a two-out single to start Sheldon’s comeback in the seventh inning and then stroked a ball to the centerfield fence at the Sacramento Softball Complex scoring Jordan Fines from first base with the winning run in the eighth inning to hand the Huskies a 7-6, 8-inning win over Vacaville.

“Once I was in the batters’ box, I felt comfortable,” Fukishima described the big at-bat. “That calmed me down, knowing my team was behind me. That made it easier on me. It was incredible. I knew Jordan was going to (score from first base) knowing her speed.”

The game was the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division I semi-final game. So, with the win Sheldon will play Wednesday night for its sixth Section championship in softball and its first banner since 2012.

Vacaville (19-10 overall) is still alive in the double-elimination tournament but must come back through the losers’ bracket, taking on the winner of River City and Woodcreek Tuesday at 7 p.m.

That game’s victor will have to beat Sheldon twice on Wednesday to win the Section championship.

Almost stunned by her team’s come-from-behind win, head coach Mary Jo Truesdale was quite matter-of-fact when reflecting on what her team accomplished against the defending Division I champion and their ace pitcher, Katie Kibby.

“It was a great battle, it really was,” Truesdale remarked. “This team is a real family. They are not ever going to give up.”

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sheldon, Franklin Score Opening Round Wins

Saturday Results:

Sheldon 9, River City 1
Sheldon 11, Bella Vista 8 (Huskies now into Monday's semi-finals vs. Vacaville, 7 p.m.

Pitman 9, Franklin 1
Woodcreek 3, Franklin 0 (Franklin eliminated)

It was pretty much business as usual last Thursday.

Sheldon, a team very much accustomed to playing annually in mid-May in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division I softball playoffs, ignored occasional raindrops and lightning in the dark eastern skies to register a 10-0 blowout win over 15th-seeded Kennedy.

The game was stopped in the fifth inning when the second-seeded Huskies registered its tenth run on junior Jordan Fines’ RBI ground ball. 
Franklin's Taylor Keinath strokes a double in the Wildcats' 17-8 win over Enochs

The Sheldon girls, almost methodically – if that’s possible in high school softball- exchanged congratulations with each other, with the overmatched Cougars and then giggled in a brief team huddle while head coach Mary Jo Truesdale handed out her traditional winning marbles to her players. They were green and yellow, the Kennedy school colors.

The tougher opponents lay ahead for the Huskies as Sheldon tries for its sixth Section championship in softball and its first since 2012. It was time to get out of the cold and rain and warm up for No. 7 River City, its next opponent, as the playoffs now become a double-elimination affair.

Fines, a Cal-commit, who drove in two runs with three hits, one an RBI double in Sheldon’s six-run third inning, said he’s confident the Huskies will be playing right up to Wednesday’s championship round at the Sacramento Softball Complex.

“We have a pretty good chance, but I’m not going to say anything because I don’t want to jinx it,” she quipped.

Sheldon pitcher Gabby Montaie warmed up for the post-season by throwing four innings of hitless ball before sophomore Taliyah Miles got a chance to throw in the fifth inning.

Friday, May 15, 2015

EG Makes D-2 Quarters With Walk Off Win Friday

Saturday's score: Elk Grove 1, Del Campo 0

The Herd faces #1 seed Benicia Monday at 7 p.m. in the semi-finals

Lindsay Lambert has never done it before in her young softball career. Her seeing-eye ground ball single that drove in the winning run in Elk Grove’s 6-5 victory over Tracy Friday night not only was a personal first, but perhaps her biggest hit ever.

Lambert, a .462 batter in this, her senior season, said she knew she needed to come through with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning and the winning run on third in order to put the Herd into the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division II quarter-finals on Saturday.

“I was just trying to get on base, get a base hit to the right side,” Lambert said. “It felt really good.”
Lindsay Lambert is all smiles after delivering a walk-off single

Victoria Saborio led off the inning by taking a pitch by Mikayla Coelho off her shoulder. She went to second on Courtney Riley’s sacrifice bunt and two pitches later was on third thanks to a wild pitch.

Saborio then scored when Lambert’s hit squeaked through the right side of the infield and the celebration on a cool night at the Sacramento Softball Complex began.

Elk Grove, the #2 seed in the tournament, took a 5-3 lead to the top of the seventh inning but Haley Nunez and Rachel Cid led off the frame with back-to-back singles off Elk Grove winning pitcher Miranda Miles. But, unlike what happened to the Herd in the previous two innings where double plays got Elk Grove out of trouble and ended a Tracy rally, luck ran out on head coach Jeff Alexander’s players.

“I had told the kids we’ve got to score some runs for I knew they were going to score runs,” he said. “We got out of some jams with some nice double plays.”

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Alexander - "This Is a Major, Major Black Eye For CIF"

The Sac-Joaquin Section softball playoffs will be underway Wednesday with Division I through III competing at the Sacramento Softball Complex. One might think Elk Grove head coach Jeff Alexander would be glad his team got a bit of a break with its placement in the D-2 bracket after years of being a top-contender in Division I.

Well, not exactly.

“This is a major, major black eye for CIF as far as I’m concerned,” Alexander claimed. 
EGHS Softball coach Jeff Alexaander

As it has with football for six seasons now, the Section decided this spring it would set up softball post-season by school enrollment. The 16 largest high schools in the Section that qualified for the playoffs would be put into Division I, the next 16 into Division II and so forth.

In the past, each league was designated to one particular division and generally its top three schools would qualify for the post-season. This year, though, some leagues got four schools into the playoffs. The Delta League, where most of the Elk Grove Unified schools compete, and the Sierra Football League both got five into the post-season.

Thus, with quite a number of big schools qualifying for the playoffs the Thundering Herd was shoved down into Div-II for the first time. The other Delta qualifiers – Sheldon, St. Francis, Pleasant Grove and Franklin – are all in Division I. Elk Grove is seeded second despite winning the Delta with a perfect 14-0 mark and going 24-2 overall.

Defending D-2 champion Benicia was handed the top seed.

“Everybody is outraged,” Alexander continued. “The way CIF did it doesn’t make any sense. It isn’t necessarily the ones that moved down, it’s the ones that were moved up. Kennedy and McClatchy being in D-1. No disrespect, but they are going to get smoked.”

Traditionally the Metro League schools have been in Division II, but Thursday night in the D-1  the Cougars, seeded 15th, play Sheldon. McClatchy, a ten-seed, takes on St. Francis in the single-elimination opening round.

The rest of the playoff brackets will be double-elimination.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

CRC Baseball/Softball Advance

Cosumnes River College's baseball and softball squads survived the opening round of the California Community College playoffs last weekend and will resume action on Friday.

The baseball team, seeded ninth in Northern California,  travels to #3 Feather River College for a best two-out-of-three playoff Friday and Saturday. The Hawks beat Galivan College in two straight games last weekend to advance to this weekend's play.

The softball enters the "super regional" round at Sierra College Friday.  The Lady Hawks will face Cabrillo College late Friday afternoon in a double elimination playoff with Sierra College and Shasta College. The championship game or games will be played Sunday at Sierra.

The Lady Hawks (28-11 this season) won the Big 8 Conference this year thanks to the contribution of many Elk Grove-area players. Kaitlin Pires (Elk Grove H.S.) and Brianna Cherry (Cosumnes Oaks H.S.) were both big contributors at the plate.

EG Wins Delta Softball, Will Enter Div. II Playoffs

The official brackets for the softball playoffs won't be released until sometime Thursday afternoon, but it appears Elk Grove, a perennial contender for the Division I championship, will be in Division II for the post-season.

For the first time ever, softball in the Sac-Joaquin Section will make its playoff brackets just like it has with football since 2009. In the set-up, the top three or four teams in each league will qualify for the post-season (the Delta League and the Sierra Foothill League will each get five playoff participants, though) and then the biggest 16 schools will be placed in the Division I bracket.

The next 16 biggest schools, by enrollment, will be put into Div. II and so on. Division IV will have 12 participants. Division V, VI and VII will each have eight competitors.

Because the Sac-Joaquin Section covers as far south as Merced and as far west at Vallejo, this means D-1 will contain the biggest EGUSD schools (Franklin, Pleasant Grove and Sheldon) along with Enochs, Gregori and Downey in Modesto, St. Mary's, Tracy and Tokay, plus just about all the SFL teams with the possible exception of Del Oro. Throw in the MEL schools like Vintage and Vacaville and D-1 is full.

That would shove the Herd, a perfect 14-0 and champions in the first year of the renewed Delta League, into Div. 2.

They should dominate.

It would also make Div. 1 real interesting with Sheldon (12-2 in the Delta) a favorite alongside Woodcreek, which suffered only one loss this season.