Empire softball roundup: Rancho Cotate earns at least share of title

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Rancho Cotate’s 5-2 road victory over Montgomery on Thursday ensures the Cougars at least a tie for the regular-season softball title in the North Bay League-Oak Division. Rancho Cotate needs to win just one of its final two league games to win the regular season outright.

Cougars starting pitcher Kaylee Drake (Win, 7 innings, 2 runs, 8 hits, 6 strikeouts) used her off-speed pitches to keep the Vikings’ hitters relatively at bay.

“Kaylee has been working on her drop-ball the past few weeks to add to her arsenal and it worked well today,” Rancho Cotate coach Tracy Poueu-Guerrero said. “Her riser and curve were working well today.”

Montgomery starter Nicole Salada took the loss and was knocked out in the fourth inning.

Drake was also the hitting star for the Cougars (14-3, 7-1), bashing a 2-run homer over the center field fence in the fourth inning. In addition to Drake, the Cougars offense was led by Tiare Guerrero (2 for 4, double, run) and Makayla Barnes (1 for 3, triple, 2 runs).

Lilly Castro was 2-3 for the fourth-place Vikings (11-10, 4-4).

“Montgomery put up a very good fight and made it a competitive game,” Poueu-Guerrero said. “Their infield played a great game.”

Analy 1, Maria Carrillo 0

The visiting second-place Tigers (9-9-1, 5-3), who are tied with Windsor, scored the game’s lone run in the sixth inning to defeat the fifth-place Pumas (8-9, 3-5) in an NBL-Oak Division game.

Analy’s run came via a double by Chloie Hadrich, followed by an RBI triple by Samantha Caughie.

The Tigers’ Carson Rasmussen earned the win by giving up zero runs and two hits over seven innings.

“Carson was just hitting her spots,” Analy coach Nick Houtz said. “The biggest thing keeping Maria Carrillo’s hitters off balance was her change-up. Her curve was working well, too.”

Pumas starter Makena Goldbeck (7 innings, 1 run, 7 hits) took the hard-luck loss.

“Both pitchers threw well,” Houtz said. “It was a really good game.”

Cardinal Newman 23, El Molino 1

The host first-place Cardinals (14-3, 8-0) won a tune-up NBL-Redwood Division game in runaway fashion over the second-place Lions (9-9, 5-3).

The Cardinals’ 12 runs in the bottom of the first inning ended any hopes El Molino had for an improbable upset.

The Cardinals clinched the regular season NBL-Redwood title several games ago and have been preparing for the upcoming North Coast Section playoffs.

“Right now we are really trying to play the game the right way no matter who we play,” Cardinal Newman coach Bill Vreeland said. “We are getting closer and closer to the NCS, so we are trying to peak at the end of the year.”

Cardinals starter Annalise Talafili went three innings to earn the win.

Cardinal Newman’s offense was led by Erin Schnabel (1 for 1, solo HR, RBI, 3 runs) and Tara Bowman (2 for 2, 4 RBIs, run).

Windsor 10, Ukiah 0

The host second-place Jaguars (10-6, 5-3) won in five innings with an offensive explosion against the last-place Wildcats (0-8, 4-13) in an NBL-Oak Division contest.

Windsor starting pitcher Kayla Scott (Win, 3 innings) overwhelmed the Wildcats with her pitch velocity.

“Kayla was on; Ukiah couldn’t hit her,” Windsor coach Morgan Rasmason said. “She was too fast for them.”

Windsor’s Kasandra Jaramillo hit an RBI walk-off single in the fifth inning to end the game due to the 10-run rule.

Casa Grande 8, Justin-Siena 1

In a Vine Valley Athletic League game, the sixth-place Gauchos (9-10, 3-6) downed the last-place Braves (9-10, 0-9) with a 13-hit barrage that netted eight runs.

Casa Grande was led on offense by Katie Humphreys (3 for 3, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs), Mo Lynch (1 for 1, solo HR, RBI, run) and Sam Dedrickson (2 for 3).

Humphries was the winning pitcher, lasting five innings despite struggling with her control.

“It was senior night so it was nice to get them (seniors) all out there,” Casa Grande coach Scott Sievers said.

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