The visiting No. 6 Montgomery softball team pulled off a rarity, defeating rival No. 3 Rancho Cotate three times in May. The third Vikings win, a 5-4 comeback, came Saturday and was the most critical because it advances the Vikings to the NCS Division 2 semifinals.
Trailing 4-3 in the top of the seventh inning, Montgomery (23-5) had base runners on first and second courtesy of walks by Rancho (18-7) pitcher Brittany Scardina. With two outs, Montgomery’s Ashley Baker ripped a two-run single, plating two, to take a 5-4 lead. Montgomery’s Anna Zoia-Buescher scored from first and beat the tag at the plate. Zoia-Buescher followed by closing out the Rancho side in order in the bottom of the inning for the complete-game win.
“Anna had a great off-speed pitch and her fastball was popping today,” Montgomery coach Mike Malvino said. “We didn’t expect to beat Rancho three times in a row. We were fortunate to play a little bit better than them today.”
The Vikings play Tuesday at No. 2 Newark Memorial and will savor the underdog role again.
“We have been playing that role all season and surprising people,” Malvino said.
Fortuna 4, Clear Lake 0
In an NCS Divisioin 4 quarterfinal, the visiting No. 7 Cardinals (19-6) couldn’t muster much offense against pitcher Hailey Dolcini, the ace for the No. 2 Huskies (21-5-1). Hailey struck out 15 Clear Lake batters in route to the shutout.
“Dolcini is one of the better pitchers we have played this year,” Clear Lake coach Doug Wingler said. “We weren’t able to get a hit when we needed it.”
Clear Lake starter Rachel Wingler gave up seven hits and three earned runs in six innings in the loss.
Cloverdale 3, Hoopa Valley 1
The No. 1 Eagles (19-3) scored two runs in the fifth inning to break open a 1-1 tie and held on for the 3-1 win at home against the pesky No. 8 Warriors (12-14). Cloverdale’s Jordyn Turner drove in the winning run with a double and Teanne Edens tacked on an insurance run, driving in Turner with a single.
Cloverdale will host No. 4 St. Bernard’s on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in a NCS Division 5 semifinal.
“I feel good going into our next game. Our momentum is going to keep going, these kids are determined,” Cloverdale coach Margaret Fitzgerald said. “Home field advantage is huge. We worked hard to get it.”
St. Bernard’s 9, St. Vincent 0
The No. 5 Eagles (14-9) were overmatched against the host No. 4 Crusaders (15-11) in a NCS Division 5 quarterfinal.
“I have no answers. We normally hit really well, we just couldn’t make contact,” St. Vincent coach Don Jensen said. “She (St. Bernard’s pitcher Emily Denny) did a great job of shutting us down. She had a good drop-ball and a great changeup.”
St. Bernard’s (Eureka) took advantage of St. Vincent starter Sully Henry, who had trouble with location, walking six.