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.”

Miles got a ground ball out and a fly ball out to short right field, but with two outs Tracy’s Ciera Hylton stroked a sharp grounder to right, scoring both Nunez and Cid to tie the game. Hylton got to third base on a fielding error.

Some good fortune returned to the Herd with the next at-bat when Brooke Ornellas’ screaming line drive was snatched out of the air by third baseman Morgan Lamb to end the inning.

Elk Grove struck first in the opening inning when Amber Wright, who had three hits on the night, led off with a single. Miranda Rodriguez’s double sent Wright to third. She scored on Miles’ ground ball out.
Miranda Rodriguez slaps an infield single in Elk Grove's win over Tracy Friday
Morgan Lamb hit the temporary fence in right for a double to drive in Rodriguez. After she stole third, Lamb scored on a error that gave Elk Grove a 3-0 first inning lead.

The Herd tacked on a fourth run on a Wright double followed by a Rodriguez single.

Tracy scored three runs in the third inning to narrow the margin to 4-3. They also had the bases loaded in the fourth inning, but left all runners stranded. There were runners on first and third with one out in the fifth inning, but Lambert snatched a line drive hit right at her and stepped on the bag for an unassisted double play to end the threat.

In the sixth inning Tracy had one runner aboard when Elk Grove once again turned a double play.

“That’s a very good team,” Alexander remarked about the Bulldogs. “We played them in the championship of the Tracy tournament and we were fortunate to win that one. That team is loaded with talent.

The Herd’s win, its 26th of the year against just two losses, sets up Division II semi-final showdown Saturday against Del Campo, 5-2 winners over Vintage. On March 5, Elk Grove defeated Del Campo, 5-3, in a non-league game.

“We have to play a lot better,” Alexander said. “I told the kids between innings that what impresses me most about this team is that we are fighters, we do have heart and we do not give up. Well, tonight, I saw some long faces when we were ahead 4-3. I’d ask people what the score was, aren’t we in the lead?”

The Herd opened the D-II playoffs Wednesday with a 10-0, 5-inning shutout of Napa.

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