Wednesday Apr 04 2012
Another day, another five home runs for the Sierra College softball team.
By: Matt Folsom/Placer Herald Correspondent
Wolverines sweep American River
FAIR OAKS _ Sierra College softball, California’s No. 1 ranked community college, looked to be having another day at the office against American River, Friday, but it was anything but. The host Beavers (12-13 overall, 2-6 Big 8) gave the Wolverines (26-4, 10-1) everything they could handle before falling 11-3 and 5-3 in a pair of Big 8 conference games in Sacramento. Game 1 Sierra sophomore Ashley Osier broke open a scoreless game in the third inning with her state-leading 13th home run. It was a line drive to right-center that knocked in speedy right fielder Jenna Thorne, who had opened the inning with a double off the top of the left field fence. Shortstop Taylor McGregor singled and then scored on Amanda Wright’s double. Wright came home on a Beaver error after Kacey Romero’s single to close out the scoring in the third. American River picked up a run in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-1. Beaver second baseman Tayler Bosio singled up the middle off Sierra pitcher Emily Snow to drive in shortstop Kacie Freymond, who had walked and stolen second. Jessica Heaney lined to Thorne in right ended the ARC threat. Sierra’s bats exploded in the fourth to put the game out of reach for the Beavers. The Wolverines opened the inning with a single by center fielder Leesha Shoemaker and a walk to Thorne. ARC pitcher Karalanne Tipton plunked Annette Merjano with a pitch to load the bases for the powerful Osier. She responded with a screaming single up the middle, scoring Shoemaker and Thorne. Michelle Fogal walked and the Wolverines again had the bases full, but not for long. First baseman Amanda Wright fouled off consecutive full-count pitches before launching a towering grand slam to left-center off Tipton to make it 10-1, Sierra. American River left fielder Amber Bibby blasted a two-run homer over the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth, but the Beavers would get no closer. Shoemaker led off the Wolverine fifth with a solo shot to dead center to make it 11-3 and, after ARC could push nothing across in the bottom of the inning, the game was over. Emily Snow picked up her third straight complete game win in the circle for Sierra. The freshman from Rio Linda gave up four hits, struck out four and walked two to move to 6-1 on the year. Wright was 2-2 with four RBI, while Osier ended up 2-4 with four RBI. After the game, Head Coach Darci Brownell implored her troops to keep the pedal to the metal heading into game two. “That team over there is hungry,” Brownell said. “We’ve seen all three of their pitchers and we hit all three of them. But, they’re going to come out fired up. Don’t let up.” Box score Sierra College 11, American River 3 Wolverines 0 0 4 6 1 – 11 11 0 Beavers 0 0 1 2 0 - 3 4 1 WP: E. Snow (6-1) LP: Tipton (6-6) Game 2 Sierra opened the second game in much the same way they ended the first – on fire. Shoemaker opened things up with an infield single and, after moving up on a Thorne sacrifice bunt, came home on a McGregor single to right. But that was the extent of the Wolverine scoring for a while as ARC pitcher Tipton shut down Sierra’s bats with three consecutive three-up, three-down innings. Fortunately for the Wolverines, Osier was having a great game of her own in the circle. Through five innings, she gave up only three singles while striking out five Beavers. She got out of a jam in the third, as ARC had runners at second and third with two outs. A stellar 6-4 putout from McGregor to Romero on a sharply hit grounder ended the threat. The sixth inning was big for both teams. Sierra’s slumbering big bats woke up when Merjano lined a solo homer to left and Wright followed up a single by McGregor and a walk to Fogal with a three-run dinger to right to make it 5-0. The runs proved to be enough for the Wolverines even though the Beavers put a scare into Sierra in the bottom of the sixth. Osier gave up a single to Tanya Holguin and walked Bibby before being touched for a three-run homer from pinch hitter Samantha Swimly that just barely made it over the right-field fence. A once-comfortable Wolverine lead was down to 5-3 and the momentum was suddenly with the boisterous Beavers. An angry Osier struck out the next batter, Gabby Blanchard, for out number two, but ARC was back in business when Tipton ripped a double off the right field fence and Yvette Vasquez walked. Leadoff hitter Freymond ended the Beaver comeback by grounding out to Osier. After the Wolverines went three-and-out in the top of the seventh, the Beavers mounted one last attack. Heaney ripped a double to left with one out, but the Sierra defense, performing this year at a .972 fielding clip, forced a pair of ground outs to end the game. Osier improved to 13-1 and ended the game with six K’s to go along with five walks and six hits. Wright capped a spectacular day with a 2-3, three RBI outing, while McGregor was 2-3 with an RBI. After the game, Brownell was all smiles. “I’m proud of the way we hung in there in the second game,” she said. “American River came to play, but our mental toughness showed when things got tight” The five Sierra home runs on the afternoon moved their team total to a state-high 54 in 30 games on the season. Osier leads the way with 13 round-trippers, followed by Merjano’s 11, McGregor’s nine and Fogal’s eight. Box score Sierra College 5, American River 3 Wolverines 1 0 0 0 0 4 0 – 5 6 0 Beavers 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 – 3 6 0 WP: Osier (13-1) LP: Tipton (6-7)