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Wolverines’ season comes to close with 56-54 loss

By: Scott Johnston Special to Gold Country News Service
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Any excuse would have worked. A key injury, a lighting malfunction and of course the 18 days of down time leading into Saturday night's Northern California Junior College Regional final game against No. 6 College of the Siskiyous could all be classified as suitable places to point blame. But Sierra College coach Brandi Murrish wasn't having it following the Wolverines' 56-54 loss. Despite nearly three weeks away from live action and the loss of Katie Keilig to an ankle injury ten minutes into game, No. 3 Sierra (26-7) stayed with the Eagles (26-6) throughout a defensive-minded first half that saw the two teams knotted at 32. Just prior to Keilig going down the game was halted for 15 minutes when a fan unintentionally flipped the gymnasium lights off. None of that really mattered, Murrish said. I liked the way we came out after the layoff. Losing Katie hurt, but I think the lights going out kind of helped us because at the time they had the momentum. Tamar Gruwell led Sierra with 19 points, while Rocklin High's Annelise Miller had eight points and Heather Highshoe had 13, including three 3-pointers. The Eagles' Karlee Myers had 19 points and Amanda Harris finished with 12. Baseball Concerns about consistency on the mound briefly disappeared following Sierra's 9-3 victory at Santa Rosa on Saturday. In their Big 8 conference opener, the red-hot Wolverines (19-2) shut down an equally fast-starting Bear Cubs team behind an impressive outing from sophomore Tyler Graham. Graham allowed Santa Rosa, winners of ten straight entering the contest, just one run in eight innings and Sierra's offense took care of the rest, pounding out eleven hits against a staff that entered the game with a conference-leading 1.62 ERA. Tyler gave us exactly what we were looking for, said Sierra coach Rob Willson. We were kind of concerned coming in, but hopefully we can keep this up. Granite Bay product Kyle Saukko continued his torrid start with three more hits in five at bats and has 18 hits in his last five games. Ryan Stevens added to his state-leading RBI total, driving in two more runs with two hits. Sierra's Logan Lotti added three RBI and Jesse Olsen went 2-for-4. Softball After a soggy start to the season, the Sierra softball team is heating up, posting a 4-1 mark in five games over the weekend. Dominant overall showings produced wins over Chabot (9-0) and Butte (13-4) on Sunday to improve Sierra's record to 15-7 overall. After all the rain, it's nice to be able to finally get some games in, said Sierra coach Darci Brownell. Saturday, the Wolverines defeated the College of the Redwoods 12-0 and Porterville 9-1, but fell to Cuesta 3-0. Leticia Cisneros allowed just three hits in seven innings and Sierra's Jessica Powell drove in two runs with three hits. Nicole Kociemba limited Butte to four runs on seven hits and helped herself with two RBI and Megan Renn (Roseville High) went 3-for-4. Oakmont High product Carli Leary added three hits and four RBI for the Wolverines. Sierra's next home game is March 20 (3 p.m.) against Sacramento City. Golf Sierra's Steve Riley moved up in the individual rankings to third in league with his performance Tuesday against Santa Rosa, but his 74 wasn't enough to help his teammates hold onto the Big 8 first-place position. Santa Rosa shot 374 as a team at Oakmont Golf Club to edge out second-place Delta by three points. Santa Rosa now holds a one-point advantage over Sierra in the conference standings. American River shot 379, Sierra 382, Napa 388, Butte 396 and Modesto 399. Austin Fink (75), Robbie Bendorf (76), Wes Sandroni (77), A.J. Hasegawa (80) and Tyler Perry-Smith rounded out the scoring for Sierra.