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Worth the wait for Del Oro tennis

By: Eric J. Gourley, Journal Sports Writer
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The Del Oro boys tennis team won its second Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship this spring 17 years after the program’s first. Led throughout the season by diminutive freshman sensation Brett Bacharach, the Golden Eagles shocked Sierra Foothill League rival Granite Bay in the title match 5-4 last month. The young No. 3 doubles tandem of freshman Paul Villa and sophomore Brandt Steinmetz won the clinching match. “We had guys diving on the court,” head coach Jen Isaac said. “They were all cheering for each other. It was pretty spectacular.” Bellarmine Prep defeated Del Oro 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Northern California Championships in Oakley the following week. The Eagles had success on both diamonds this spring. The softball team made it to the Division II championship game, where Del Oro fell to two-time defending champion Oak Ridge 4-0 despite a fearless effort in the pitcher’s circle from freshman Jordan Courage. Savannah Pingree went 21-5 as the ace for the Eagles, whose roster featured only three seniors. Pingree struck out 178 in 181 innings. She allowed only 70 hits in compiling a 0.54 ERA. Del Oro finished the season 23-8 overall. “We had modest expectations at the start of the season, just wanting to make it to this tournament,” head coach John Peck said. “We ended up winning the Sierra Foothill League and somewhere along the line started believing in each other and just got stronger and stronger.” On the baseball diamond, Granite Bay eliminated resilient Del Oro in extra innings during the third game of a three-game section semifinal series a year after the Eagles lost the section title game to Ponderosa on a walkoff homer. While Del Oro fell short of making the first-ever section boys volleyball playoffs and the girls soccer squad missed the playoffs following a mediocre season on the pitch, the spring featured stellar performances in the swimming pool and on the track. The Eagles dominated the boys relays at the Sac-Joaquin Section swim finals last month. Josh McCormick, Alec Obert, Colin Johnston and Weston Landre finished third in the 400 free in 3:13.19, and third in the 200 free relay (1:28.99). Landre, a freshman, placed sixth in the varsity boys 100 back in 54.49. Del Oro exceeded expectations at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters track meet last month. Sophomore Mackenzie Landry cleared 12-3 in the pole vault to finish second and qualify for the state meet, where she vaulted 11-4 over the weekend. Samantha Eggert, Kylie Skupic, Maureen Watkins and Kyndal Moss took sixth in the 4x100 relay in 49.97. Eggert and Watkins teamed with Jamie Schumacher and Kelsey Seaman for seventh in the 4x400 (58.85).