Now the fun can really begin.
With Thursday’s San Joaquin Athletic Association finale — a 27-0 thrashing of Franklin in 4½ innings at the Tracy Softball Complex — over and done with, the Tracy High softball team’s sights are now squarely set where more than a few eyes have been all along: the first round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs, which begin May 19 in Sacramento.
“I think we can do it,” said senior Lani McGee when asked if this group of Bulldogs, which includes some members of the 2005 section finalist team, could go all the way. “We have a good team this year — and I want to. It’s senior year.”
While the squads in Sacramento won’t be quite as easy to beat as Franklin — which Tracy pounded for 30 hits Thursday and held to only two hits and six total baserunners — there’s no denying the Bulldogs are on a roll. The win represented Tracy’s 21st league victory in a row dating back to 2005 and includes two straight SJAA crowns. And the “Ladydogs” were certainly firing on all cylinders Thursday.
Pitcher Jenni Holtz struck out six hitters in a row after the leadoff batter reached on an error and fanned nine total in the five-frame game. She also went 2-for-3 from the plate.
Every player on the roster recorded at least one hit. Leadoff hitter Morgan Hayes went 4-for-6 with a home run, catcher Nikki Moreno was 4-for-5 with a double, triple and three RBIs, and Samantha Whisman was 3-for-4 with a three-run home run — coming three hitters after Hayes smashed hers.
“We’re a team to beat,” Tracy coach Greg Smith. “We play good softball here.”
Tracy will host playoff qualifier Elk Grove on Tuesday for a final pre-playoff tuneup at 3:30 p.m.
(S) Tracy 20, Franklin 0 (4½ innings)
The Bullpups (9-1 SJAA, 16-2-2-) closed out yet another championship season with yet another double-digit slaughter, scoring 20 runs on 15 hits and four Franklin errors.
The Yellowjackets were no-hit by Stephanie Fisher, who carried a perfect game into the fourth inning, striking out five. She walked one in the fourth.
From the plate, Fisher was 1-for-4 but knocked in five runs. Beth Worthington and Sam Balanon both knocked three hits; Worthington was a home run short of the cycle and collected two RBIs, and Balanon had a triple and three RBIs. Haley Delgado was 2-for-4 with three runs and an RBI, and Sara Amorello was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs. Stephanie Leles knocked in five runs, scored four times, and hit a triple.
“It was a very fun year, although the competition wasn’t what we’d have liked it to be,” Tracy coach Gerianne McGee said.
(F) Tracy 5, Ripon 1
Natalya Motyka pitched three perfect innings, striking out eight, en route to a win over the Ripon junior varsity team.
The Bullpuppies (16-5) got hits from Rebecca Titus, Bryanna Frymyer, Alexis Gonzalez and Taylor Slabaugh, and both Heather Haack and Mariah Taloa scored runs.
Gonzalez pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
“I was very proud of the girls,” Tracy coach Keith Britt said. “We had some fun, and I look forward to watching them play on the JV team next year.”
St. Mary’s 8, West 7
The Tri-City Athletic League champions needed a five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to hand playoff-bound West (7-3 TCAL, 18-7) its third league loss.
“We played well,” said West coach Steve Anastasio, whose team jumped out to a 4-0 lead after an inning and led 5-0 after two. “We just, unfortunately, made a few mistakes that might have turned the game around for them.”
An error, three walks and another error left the bases loaded with the Wolf Pack still up by two for St. Mary’s batter Taz Weatherly, who won the game with a bases-clearing triple.
Senior Stephanie Tornio went 3-for-5, and pitcher Brittney Astle went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Arianna Welch went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
Astle allowed only three runs through six innings from the circle in her second start of the year. She struck out five.
BACK SAFE:Tracy High’s Morgan Hayes, who went 4-for-6 at the plate with a home run, slides safely back to first base ahead of the throw from Franklin High’s pitcher.
Enrique Gutierrez/Tracy Press
On May 19, known as “Suicide Saturday” — the first day of playoffs — the Wolf Pack face either Elk Grove or Franklin of Elk Grove at the Sacramento Softball Complex at 10 a.m.
(S) St. Mary’s 13, West 5
The Rams scored early and often in Stockton, making the season finale for West (6-4 TCAL, 17-10) less enjoyable than it could have been.
Ashley Cox and Chelsea Moniz split the pitching duties, and Tracy Wentz went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs and an RBI. Stephanie Dyer was 1-for-3 with a double and a run, and Cox was 1-for-1 with an RBI.
“We had a good season,” West coach Martin Miller said. “It was an enjoyable year — the girls played hard.”
To reach Sports Editor Chris Roberts, call 830-4267 or e-mail email@example.com.