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.

Truesdale said she was relieved the Huskies made it through the single-elimination post-season opener so easily.

“I think you come in and hope you win the first game, because you have to win the first game in order to continue,” she said. “You just don’t know what to expect. You don’t know if you’re going to score early, if you’re going to score late or if you’re going to score at all. You don’t know if your bats are going to be hot or going to be cold.”

“Little things pop up in the playoffs that haven’t popped up at all and you have to make adjustments,” she concluded.

Earlier Wednesday another Delta League team, Franklin, had to deal with more rain and wind from a thunderstorm that drenched the eastern suburbs that evening. The Wildcats, the fifth-place squad in the Delta and a 13-seed in the tournament, broke out its bats against #4 Enochs.

Franklin scored a season-high in both runs (17) and hits (19) in a 17-8 win.

Wildcat head coach Jill Sanchez was happy her team played so well despite the weather along with the fact they were in the playoffs.

“We’ve been working on our hitting all week, knowing we had to come out and strike early,” Sanchez said. “We focused on making contact and really driving the ball and putting it in play. We did a really good job at the plate.”

Jordyn Sarnack had a grand slam in the top of the first inning to get Franklin started. But, Enochs ran out to an 8-5 lead after three innings thanks to Jordan Barber’s grand slam in the fourth inning.

Then Wildcat pitcher Taylor Keinath shut down Enochs over the next four innings while the Franklin offense scored 12 more runs – five apiece in the fourth and the seventh innings.

“Taylor, as a freshman pitching in her first playoff game, I think did a great job,” Sanchez said.

The Wildcats moved on to play No. 5 Pitman in the second round, the first time since 2008 Franklin has advanced out of the opening game of the playoffs.

“We’ve had our ups and downs and we ended league not so well, but we’re coming into (the playoffs) hot,” Sanchez added. “We believe in ourselves and our commitment to go on and not just say we’re here, but to say we’ll be here for a while.”

Not so fortunate was Pleasant Grove. The #8 seed was beaten by No. 9 Vacaville, 10-5, in Wednesday’s opening game. The loss ends the Eagles’ two-year streak of finishing as the Division I runner-up.

Pleasant Grove was 17-10 overall this season and placed third in the Delta League with a 7-7 mark.

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