Sac-Joaquin Section softball playoffs taking shape

Gregori could see Enochs a third time in Division 1

jcortez@modbee.comMay 8, 2013 

— Gregori High softball coach Juliana Santos knows her team had its chance.

In two head-to-head matchups against Modesto Metro Conference rival Enochs, the Jaguars failed to score a single run, falling 10-0 and 3-0.

To the winner goes the spoils. And Enochs, which ran through the MMC with a perfect record, gets a first-round bye in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs, which begin on Monday.

Even with the Metro Conference's No. 2 seed, Santos likes where her team is positioned.

"I'm really proud of the girls," said Santos, the Orestimba graduate who was The Bee's Player of the Year in 2008 and went on to star at Louisiana State. "We worked hard and got the No. 2 seed and we get to host a game. We've only lost once all year at home."

Gregori will face Atwater High, the Central California Conference's No. 3 team, at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. These teams met earlier this season at the Ceres tournament and that game ended in a 6-6 tie, according to MaxPreps.com.

"They have a really good pitcher (Aliyah Ricks) who throws a lot of riseballs, and as you know, my team struggles with riseballs.

"It should be a really good game. It's not going to be a cakewalk for either of us."

Atwater-Gregori isn't the only CCC vs. MMC matchup in Tuesday's opening round of outbracket games. Buhach Colony, the CCC's second seed, will host MMC No. 3 Modesto in a 4 p.m. contest in Atwater.

Merced High, like Enochs, will receive a first-round bye. Roseville and the No. 2 team out of the Delta Valley Conference will play for the right to face the Bears on May 18 in a 10 a.m. game (Field 4) at the Sacramento Softball Complex. Enochs will face the winner of Woodcreek vs. Tokay in a 9 a.m. game (Field 2) on May 18 at the same venue.

In the Division 4 bracket, Western Athletic Conference champion Central Catholic will take on Kimball, the third-place team in the Valley Oak League. They play on Wednesday at 5 p.m. (Field 2) at the Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton.

"We feel really confident," said Raiders coach Greg Applegate, whose team wrapped up a perfect 12-0 WAC season with a win over Ceres' Central Valley on Tuesday. "We've been playing well for a while now. We've got good pitching, good defense, and the hitting is getting better and better."

Leading the way for CC will be pitchers Gia Rodoni and Monica Reno. Catcher Gabby Dias bats cleanup for the Raiders and provide solid defense behind the plate.

"She's allowed only one stolen base this year," said Applegate. "That's out of about 20 or 25 attempts. Plus, she's picked off about a half dozen runners."

Shortstop Emily Raspo and second baseman Josie Flores, who bats leadoff, will be expected to help carry the offense.

In other first-round Division 4 matchups Wednesday, VOL No. 2 Oakdale takes on the No. 2 team from the Sierra Valley Conference in a 5 p.m. game on Arnaiz's Field 3. At the same time, on Field 1, WAC runner-up Ceres plays SVC champ Union Mine.

Los Banos, the third-place team in the WAC, hosts an out-bracket game on Monday at 4 p.m. against the SVC's third-place finisher. However, a victory would push the Tigers into a Wednesday matchup against VOL champion Sierra, where they'd likely face mega-talented Allie Walljasper (17-2 with a 0.49 ERA and 216 strikeouts in 113ª innings pitched). Ouch.

"This whole bracket is going to come down to who can get past Walljasper," Applegate said.

In Division 5, Trans-Valley League champ Hughson plays May 16 in the Arnaiz Stadium against the winner of Monday's Dixon-Argonaut outbracket game. Also on Thursday, Ripon, the TVL's No. 2, takes on Marysville on Field 2; over on Field 3, Escalon takes on the Mother Lode League champ — either Calaveras or Linden — while on Field 1, the MLL runner-up takes on Lindhurst. All games are at 5 p.m.

In Division 6 games Wednesday, the Southern League champ — either Waterford or Le Grand — takes on Vacaville Christian in a 5 p.m. game (North Field) at the Lodi Softball Complex. At 7 p.m., the Southern League No. 2 faces the runner-up of the Central Valley Christian League at 7 p.m. (North Field). At 7 on the South Field, SL No. 3 Delhi takes on Golden Sierra.

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