Eagles fall to three-time champs

By: Matt Long Gold Country News Service
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Del Oro High’s softball team gave it their best shot, but came up short in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship game, losing to Oak Ridge 4-0 on Wednesday at the Sacramento Softball Complex. The underdog Eagles only managed two singles off Oak Ridge pitcher Kasey Stanchek, who pitched marvelously throughout the tournament, allowing only five hits and no runs during Oak Ridge’s four-game sweep. The Trojans became the first Division II team to win three straight section titles. “That’s a great team over there,” Del Oro coach John Peck said. “I have nothing but respect for them.” The Eagles had their backs to the wall from the start and not only because they had to beat Oak Ridge twice to win the championship. Their starting pitcher for most of the season, Savannah Pingree, fouled a ball off her foot during Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Ponderosa and the injury kept her out of the championship game. Up stepped freshman Jordan Courage, who kept her team in the game until Oak Ridge scored three runs in the seventh inning to take a commanding 4-0 lead. Oak Ridge had runners on base in every inning, but only scored one run in the fourth on a single, error and another single. Courage scattered 11 hits and struck out three in the loss. “She had to be pitching in the biggest game of her life, but she did a good job,” Peck said. Del Oro only had one runner reach second base and that came in the fifth inning. Aspen Echelmier hit an infield single and Kelsey Mooney sacrificed her to second. Stanchek then struck out Caitlin Carson swinging and Olivia Nixon looking to end the inning. The young Del Oro team with only three seniors ended the season with a 23-8 record. “We had modest expectations at the start of the season, just wanting to make it to this tournament,” Peck continued. “We ended up winning the Sierra Foothill League and somewhere along the line started believing in each other and just got stronger and stronger.”