Roseville moves back on top in SFL softball

Tigers beat Rocklin for second time this season
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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After a short rain delay Wednesday afternoon, the Roseville High girls softball team weathered a 3-2 win on the road at Rocklin. It was a big win for the Tigers as it gives them a sweep of the two games against Rocklin for the season. The two squads are in a four-team mix battling for the top spot in the Sierra Foothill League. Both Roseville wins over the Thunder came by the same 3-2 score. Roseville starting pitcher Gabby Gonzalez allowed two runs in the fourth inning but the Tigers held on to a one-run lead through the final three frames, with Delany DeMello also coming in to pitch down the stretch. The Tigers did all of their scoring in the first inning. Thunder sophomore starting pitcher Sierra Ueltzen began the game with a walk to Alexi Johnson, and then a Lollie Fitzpatrick sacrifice bunt set up the first Roseville tally. Alicea Coy blasted an RBI double to deep left that rode the foul line. After a groundout Gonzalez knocked the second run-scoring double of the inning with one on and two out. Gonzalez advanced to third base on a steal with Savannah McMillin at the plate. McMillin then followed with her RBI single up the throat of the infield before the 3-0 inning ended on a strikeout. Ueltzen pitched a complete seven innings, totaling five strikeouts and four walks. Her team scored those two runs in the fourth after a leadoff double by Cara Delgado. Stacy McTaggart followed with a single and a steal to put runners at second and third with no outs. A groundout brought up Ueltzen, who brought in one run on a fielder’s choice groundout. McTaggart scored the second run on a passed ball. It was DeMello with the save that gave Roseville their first win over the Thunder this season. With one out in the fifth she relieved Gonzalez. Gonzalez threw 4 1/3 innings allowing two runs on five hits, with one strikeout and no walks. DeMello accrued two strikeouts in her 2 2/3 innings save. She fanned the first batter she faced and proceeded to allow just two runners on base with a walk and a hit. “Today was a total team effort and I’ve sensed it the last two weeks of practice,” said Roseville coach Jennifer Birch. “If your morale is good and your chemistry is good out here you’ll get wins and we have. The pressure was off, I told them I didn’t care about the outcome and that I only cared about the process. If you enjoy the process the outcome will take care of itself.” The Tigers have responded well. Since losing two in a row midway through the league season, they have bounced back with three straight wins. The Thunder ran even in their last four games, but remain strong in the SFL. Coach Bob Townsend said his team cannot afford to lose another game looking ahead to playoffs. “It was a heartbreaker,” Townsend said. “The first inning got away from us, they got some good hits and after that we held them to no runs. It’s just basically coming down to crunch time with two games left and we have to win them both.” Rocklin’s last two games are first at Woodcreek and back home to close against Granite Bay. Roseville (6-2) is tied with Del Oro (6-2) on top of the SFL. Both teams have four games left on the schedule, beginning with a head-to-head battle at 4 p.m. Friday at Roseville. Rocklin sits right behind at 7-3 with two extra games already in the books, while Woodcreek is in fourth place at 5-3. With just three teams able to reach the playoffs, it will be a tight race right to the end for all four clubs.