Sierra College teams to battle in Bakersfield for state titles

Baseball, softball advance
By: Matt Folsom Placer Herald Sports Correspondent
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Members of the Sierra College softball and baseball teams are happy to be extending this semester one more weekend as both Wolverine squads head to Bakersfield to battle for state championships May 18-20 at the Dean and Adah Gay Sports Complex at Bakersfield College. SOFTBALL Sierra College head coach Darci Brownell?s softball team, the north?s No. 2 seed, joins north No. 1 College of the Siskiyous (40-2), south No. 2 seed Riverside Community College (33-12) and south No. 1 Cypress College. The Wolverines (41-6) earned the final four berth by winning an odds-defying four consecutive elimination games to capture the College of San Mateo Super Regional May 13. Sierra opens against Cypress, the two-time defending champion, Friday at 8 p.m. The Wolverines are the most explosive offensive team in school history with a state-leading 78 home runs and three players with double-figure homer stats. Ashley Osier, recently named the California Player of the Year, tops the state with 22 round trippers, followed by Annette Merjano?s 15 and Taylor McGregor?s 13. Sierra paced the All-American team with three selections: Osier, Merjano and Jenna Mae Thorne. Katie Bell joined Merjano, Osier and Thorne on the All-State team, while McGregor earned All-NorCal honors. Big 8 conference honors went to Player of the Year Osier, Bell, McGregor, Merjano, Thorne, Leesha Shoemaker and Amanda Wright. Brownell was named the Big 8 Coach of the Year. BASEBALL The Sierra College baseball team (25-15-1) looks for its second state title since 2008 as the No. 2 north-seeded Wolverines join No. 1 north seed Cosumnes River College (25-16) south No. 2 seed Rio Hondo (38-3) and the south?s No. 1 seed, Orange Coast (36-5-1). Sierra takes on Orange Coast in Friday?s noon opener. Coach Rob Willson?s Wolverines captured the Feather River Super Regional with a perfect but dramatic 3-0 mark. Sierra scored four runs in the 11th to top Fresno City 10-6 in Sunday?s championship. Brad Gerig?s two-out, two-run homer Saturday afternoon paced Saturday?s 5-4 win over Fresno, while Josh Eagle struck out eight of the first 13 Feather River Eagles he faced Friday to lead Sierra past the top seed 5-3. Eagle joined Jared Snow and Tim Lerner on the All-Big 8 first team, while Travis Israel and Gerig earned second team honors. Eagle led the conference with 99 strikeouts; Lerner was tops in saves with five and Brady Steiger was the home run leader with six. Gerig was second in the Big 8 with 36 RBI and fifth with a .342 batting average. State Softball Championships Bakersfield College, May 18-20 SOFTBALL North ? No. 1 College of the Siskiyous, No. 2 Sierra College South ? No. 1 Cypress College, No. 2 Riverside Community College BASEBALL North ? No. 1 Cosumnes River College, No. 2 Sierra College South ? No. 1 Orange Coast, No. 2 Rio Hondo