Sierra's Wolverines are far from finished

Baseball, softball and tennis teams advance to playoffs
By: Cecil Conley, Placer Herald Sports Editor
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Ashley McMahon started it last Saturday for Sierra College’s softball team, allowing two hits in five innings as the Wolverines blanked San Jose City 8-0 in their state playoff opener in Rocklin. The sophomore finished it 24 hours later, pitching two scoreless innings of relief as Sierra held on for a 3-1 victory in the rubber game of the best-of-three series. Sierra lost 5-4 in the second game. Coach Darci Brownell pulled McMahon after six innings in game 2 and went to freshman Katelyn Bell. Brownell then decided to start Bell in the third game and have McMahon ready for relief. The Wolverines (31-11) advance to the Sweet 16 and will face a familiar foe Friday at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton. Sierra will play Big 8 Conference rival Sacramento City at 4 p.m. Sierra went 2-1 against Sacramento City in the Big 8, and the teams finished in a tie for second place behind Delta. McMahon is 2-0 against the Panthers, allowing four hits and three runs in 14 innings. McMahon yielded two hits in game 1 against San Jose City. Sophomore Tori Turner went 2-for-3 with two RBI. McMahon attended Pioneer High School in San Jose, so she was familiar with several of the Jaguars. McMahon set the tone in game 1 by striking out the first five batters she faced. “That gave her a little extra motivation,” Brownell said. “She was on.” Turner and McMahon were recently named to the All-Northern California team along with freshman Ashley Osier. The three also made the All-Big 8 team, as did sophomore Samantha Gallagher. Brownell was named co-Coach of the Year with Delta’s Jim Fisher. The Wolverines also had two second-team selections in sophomore Sheyanne Greer and freshman Rebecca Rodriguez. Sierra’s baseball team is also in the Sweet 16 after sweeping Chabot in the first round. The 12th-seeded Wolverines eliminated the No. 5 Gladiators by winning 11-6 last Friday and 6-2 on Saturday. Rob Willson’s squad (21-16) advances to face No. 6 Merced (27-11) at 11 a.m. Friday at Delta. Sixth-seeded Merced had an easy time sweeping Marin in the first round, winning 23-1 and16-5. Sierra, which avenged two losses to Chabot in February, and Merced have not crossed paths this season. Sierra already has one spring team in the Final Four. The women’s tennis team won its Northern California Regional by defeating Foothill, Fresno City and Reedley in the past three weeks. Steve Dunmore’s team will play Santa Monica today at Sierra Sport and Racquet Club in Fresno. In sweeping Chabot, the baseball team overcame a 6-4 deficit in game 1with five runs in the sixth inning. Sophomore Jason Merjano and freshman Kaden Kamoe hit two-run singles in the sixth. Freshman Jon Nutter hit his first home run this season when he belted a two-run shot in the second. Sophomore Jeff Stephens went 3-for-4 in support of freshman Josh Eagles, who pitched six innings for his sixth win. Nutter hit another two-run homer Saturday to provide enough offense for freshman Ryan Millison, who allowed one hit and two runs in 7-1/3 innings to earn his team-high seventh victory. The homer was one of three hits for Nutter, who has supplanted Clinton Brill as Sierra’s primary catcher. “He’s a better receiver,” Willson said of Nutter. “He turns borderline pitches into strikes. The wind was howling (at Chabot), so we were throwing down and away from their hitters. He handled that.” Willson expects the Wolverines will face Blue Devils ace Jake Sisco on Friday. Sisco is 11-0 with a 1.69 ERA. Sisco shares the state lead in victories.