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DO softball, soccer fall in CIF finals

By: Staff Report
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Sometimes the best laid plans can go awry. If you don?t believe it, just ask the Del Oro High girls soccer and softball teams. Both Lady Eagle teams entered the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs last week as champions of the Sierra Foothill League and No. 1 seeds in their respective Div. II brackets. While the post season effort was definitely there from both squads, the Lady Eagles each had to take back seats in being denied section gold. On the softball diamond, Del Oro, ranked as the Sacramento area?s top team regardless of division most of the spring, was victimized by a hot swinging Christian Brothers team and fell last Friday 8-3 to the Falcons in the ?Suicide Friday? round of the Div. II playoffs at Sacramento. At Consumes Oaks High, in Elk Grove, on Saturday, Del Oro?s soccer team lost its first match of the season when the Lady Eagles fell to SFL rival Woodcreek, 4-0, in the finals. Softball Ousted By Falcons All season long, the Del Oro girls softball team came up with the big hit, the big defensive play and strong pitching to have a banner season. But Friday against No. 3 seed Christian Brothers, the Lady Eagles got untracked. ?That?s softball,? said Del Oro coach John Peck. ?Christian Brothers played a very good game. Their pitcher did a good job of keeping us off balance.? The Lady Eagles entered the contest with a sparkling 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 then hit big run scoring singles. 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. 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. ?We lose a good group of seniors but we have a strong core of players returning next season,? said Peck. Peck also noted that Jordan Courage and Whitney Smith were selected to play in the upcoming Optimist All-Star game for the North team. Soccer blanked in finals Coming in last Saturday?s finals with impressive 4-0 wins over Oakmont and Casa Roble in the preliminary rounds, the No. 1 seed Lady Eagles looked primed to garner the school?s first ever CIF soccer banner.But Woodcreek?s Timber Wolves, who had tied Del Oro twice during the regular season, had other ideas. Sparked by an early goal off a corner kick from Kristin Womack, the Roseville booter stunned the Lady Eagles with three first-half goals on their way to nailing down the 4-0 win. ?It was a close call, but it wasn?t a good way to start the game,? Del Oro coach Ron Benjamin said of the opening goal. A rare misplay by the Eagles defense led to Woodcreek?s second goal as Lauren Hayano collected an errant pass and showed great composure in the penalty box as she shot a rocket into the right corner. Rachel Dortch struck the final blow of the first half as her direct kick from 24 yards out found the left corner to give Woodcreek a 3-0 lead. Del Oro had a handful of opportunities to score, but could not break through against Woodcreek?s quick back line. The Timberwolves added a fourth goal midway through the second half when Dortch headed in a corner kick. ?It was very bizarre. I was really happy with every game of the year except for tonight,? Benjamin said. ?We did some things tonight that we?ve never done. Woodcreek is a very good team, but we played our worst game of the season. We made mistakes that we don?t normally make.? Del Oro finished the season 9-1-7 overall. The Eagles will bring back all but two starters next season, though they will certainly miss senior Lauren Gollnick, who led the team with 10 goals on the season.