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Tigers survive Woodcreek, earn spot in playoffs

Pair of two-run, two-outs hits deliver Roseville
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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The playoffs were on the line Wednesday at Mahany Park when the Roseville High softball team came calling on its rivals from Woodcreek. The game lived up to expectations as the two teams punched and counter-punched their way through a tight one-run battle with big hits and big defense playing a role from start to finish. When it was over, Roseville clung to a 7-6 victory that clinches a spot for the Tigers in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs. There were fireworks right out of the gate as the Tigers scored three times in the first frame against Woodcreek freshman pitcher Alexis Wilkerson. Two batters were hit by pitches to help set the table, but a crucial throwing error allowed two runners to score, with a third coming home on an Emily Wagner-Davis single. Roseville is trying to get used to life without starting second baseman and lead-off hitter Alicea Coy, who is out with a wrist injury, but the Tigers did not seem to struggle much offensively as they banged out a dozen hits in the contest. Woodcreek also did not seem offensively challenged, though it was Roseville that got the one big hit late that sealed the win. The Timberwolves answered the Tigers in the first with a three-spot of their own. An error put Ashley Mrozinski aboard with one out and then Roseville changed pitchers, swapping starter Delany DeMello with first baseman Gabby Gonzales for three batters. That trio – Rebecca Rodriguez, Lauren Clark-Lewis and Sami Everett – all singled in the three-run rally. DeMello then returned to the circle to record an inning-ending strikeout. The Timberwolves took their first lead in the home half of the third when Paige Davis singled to open up before scoring on a Rodriguez base hit. That inning looked like it might be much worse for Roseville, but Hayley Gately’s line shot to right field with the bases loaded and two outs was tracked down by Haylee Remy to quiet the threat. Roseville answered with two in the fourth, with a pair of errors playing a crucial role. The Tigers loaded the bases themselves, but Kayla Fields found the outfield grass with her hit to chase home two runs that gave her team the 5-4 advantage. That lead was short-lived, as Woodcreek was right back with two runs in the bottom half of the stanza. Francesca Orlando worked a lead-off walk and then raced around ahead of Christal Vierra, whose line drive bounced down the left field line to allow the freshman to race for a home run. In a game of tag, it was Roseville’s turn, and once again, the Tigers got it done. Wagner-Davis and Savannah McMillin both reached on base hits, but two attempts to bunt the duo over ended up as pop-outs, setting Roseville up for another dramatic two-out situation. Following a Kalei Levy single to load the bases, Alexi Johnson delivered a two-run single that put Roseville on top to stay. Roseville had two aboard in the sixth and had a base runner erased by a Woodcreek double play in the seventh to leave the Timberwolves facing a single-run deficit in their final at-bat. Rodriguez ripped a single, her third hit of the game, after a lead-off walk to put Woodcreek in business with two on and no one out, but DeMello slammed the door with a pair of clutch strikeouts and a ground ball to Lollie Fitzpatrick at shortstop. Rodriguez had three hits and Everett two for Woodcreek, while the Tigers were led by Levy’s three hits and two each by Fields and Wagner-Davis. The loss eliminates Woodcreek (6-5 in the SFL, 11-13 overall) from playoff consideration as it falls to fourth place, two games behind third-place Roseville with just one game to play. The Timberwolves close their season at 4 p.m. Friday at Oakmont (2-9, 5-13). Roseville (8-3, 14-7-1), on the other hand, is guaranteed to keep playing into the postseason, but its seeding will be decided after Friday’s season-ending action. The Tigers are at Nevada Union (5-6, 9-10) and if they win that game, they will jump to at least the No. 2 SFL seed. A loss sends the Tigers to the postseason as the league’s No. 3 squad.