Bats fail Eagles in upset

Del Oro eliminated from sectionals
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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SACRAMENTO ? Whitney Smith was on deck in the seventh inning hoping to come to the plate to rekindle the magic bats the Del Oro High softball team had all season. But the senior watched on as Maicy Schwartz popped out to shortstop to end the game. The top-seeded Eagles were more than upset Friday 8-3 by No. 3 seed Christian Brothers in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II tournament, they were baffled by the Falcons? pitching. ?We should have learned after the first round,? said Smith, who finished 1-for-2 with a walk. ?We should have went up with a, ?Oh, we can hit her,? appearance and we were all guessing when we were up there. We had no idea what was coming and that?s a great job for her for mixing us up.? The Eagles came into the game with a 19-4-2 record and hadn?t allowed a team to score eight or more runs since April 14 in a 9-8 loss to Bear Creek. After a runners-up finish in last year?s tournament and three of four seniors heading off to play collegiate softball next season, the Eagles were the odds on favorite to win the title this year and had the confidence to show it, but after they gave up a 3-0 lead on two errors in the third inning the title aspirations took a back seat. The Falcons started the third inning with some small ball as Lucia Lopez singled on an infield groundball and advanced to second on a wild pitch from senior Jordan Courage. Kira McKechnie laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Lopez to third and Inaya Norman hit an infield grounder that the Eagles to tried to throw the lead runner out at the plate but came up short as the Falcons took a 1-0 lead. The next two batters tagged singles to outfield and Courtney Smith watched a groundball go under her mitt that allowed two runners to score. The hard infield wreaked havoc on the Eagles as they committed the two errors and missed out on several plays they usually make look routine. ?We were coming in with our heads high and I think for us four seniors (we) especially have our heads down just because it?s our last game ever,? said Smith fighting back tears. ?We came in thinking we were going to go all the way to a championship, but sometimes those things change.? The Eagles started to rally back in the bottom of the seventh when Courage led off with a single. Bailey Lewis hit a grounder to first but Candace Guthmiller tried to throw out Courage but the throw came late and Lewis reached safely. Two batters later and Courage advancing to third on a wild pitch, Molly Fowkes grounded out to short but brought Courage home for the Eagles? first run of the game. Hannah George flied to shortstop but the ball was bobbled and allowed Lewis to score and George to reach safely. But an eight-run, two-out rally in the seventh was too much to ask for even for Del Oro. ?It was just one of those days,? Del Oro coach John Peck said. ?They came on a little late. We should have got it started a little sooner.?