Lightning isn’t supposed to strike twice in the same spot, but it did Monday night during the Division I softball playoffs for the Sac-Joaquin Section. The first bright flash to lit up the sky halted play for 30 minutes.
The second burst came more than three hours into the game when Pleasant Grove catcher Vanessa Washington rocketed the ball over the fence in the eighth inning to give the Eagles a 9-8 win over rival Sheldon.
A stray thunderstorm started lighting up the skies over the Sacramento Softball Complex and that made umpires hold up action in the thrilling losers’ bracket contest.
The Delta River League foes had battled through six innings of exciting softball and when the lightning bolts shined and thunder rumbled, the Eagles nursed a narrow 8-7 lead. Everyone was sent for cover.
CIF rules dictate that when lightning is seen, all action must be halted. Plus, the game cannot be restarted until 30 minutes after the last lightning bolt is seen.
That gave the squads, exhausted after playing 13 innings total that day, a chance to rest. Both teams had grueling games earlier in the evening in the double elimination tournament that led to this thrilling nightcap.
Once the all-clear sounded Pleasant Grove, the visiting team in this contest, didn’t score in the top of the seventh, but Sheldon did in its half of the inning to send the contest into extra innings.
Sheldon, the DRL Champions, swept the Eagles in the pair of games they played during league action earlier this spring. The game
Pleasant Grove jumped on Sheldon in the early innings and had a 5-1 lead. Four of those runs came in the second inning. That didn’t last long because Huskies’ catcher Jessica Scott drilled a grand slam to tie the game at five in the third inning.
After the Eagles scored three in the fifth inning, Sarah Fukushima’s two-run homer in the bottom half of that frame cut Pleasant Grove’s lead to 8-7.
This means the Eagles will move on to play Roseville in the first of two losers’ bracket contests on Tuesday. The Tigers defeated Merced, 3-2, in the other winners’ bracket semi-final contest Monday.
The winner of that game will play Tuesday at 7 p.m. against the loser of Vacaville and Rocklin.
In the early games Monday, Vacaville pitcher Katie Kibby had a perfect game through 5 2/3rds innings in its winners’ bracket semi-final game against Pleasant Grove. Kibby walked Autumn Miller, then gave up a single to Marissa Maligad to end any chance at Don Larsen-type fame.
Washington had a solo shot in the 7th for the Eagles lone run of the game.
For Vacaville, Kylie Larsen had a solo homer in the 2nd. Eventual winning run scored in the fourth. Izzy Delagarza singled went to second on a a bunt, to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch.
The win put the undefeated Bulldogs (27-0-1) into the winners’ bracket finals against Rocklin Tuesday. The Thunder were a 3-0 winner over Merced on Tuesday.
The loss to Vacaville set up the Eagles’ showdown with Sheldon, who had won 8-3 over Tracy in a losers’ bracket elimination game earlier on Monday.
Sheldon was led in that game by Maci Fines who had a two-run double in the first inning along with sister Jordan who also knocked in a pair with a double. Anessa Kaylor had a pair of doubles.
The Huskies ended the season with a 20-11 mark. They were 9-1 in DRL play.