LOS BANOS — Pacheco does playoffs with style.
A Gia Rodoni no-hitter powered the Panthers’ softball team to the first playoff victory in any sport in school history, 3-0 over Vista del Lago of Folsom in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV outbracket game.
“I’ve been around since the school opened, and I’ve been a part of every first in some form, and to actually be the coach with the first playoff win makes it a little more special,” said Pacheco coach Charlie Pikas, the former Los Banos coach who is also Pacheco’s athletic director. “The ball’s going to go up in my trophy case in my room where we have our stuff from championships.”
Pacheco’s offense scored three runs in the first two innings, and Rodoni, a transfer this season from Modesto’s Central Catholic High, did the rest in her second no-hitter this season. She had 16 strikeouts, even as Vista pitcher Morgan Hawkins matched her zero for zero over the last five innings. Hawkins struck out seven while holding Pacheco to four hits – two of them by leadoff batter Arianna Barton.
“It’s pretty awesome being the team that did it first,” Rodoni said. “We work hard for it.”
Barton singled over the shortstop in the first inning and on a Kayla Valdez fielder’s choice. Barton played a big part in the next inning after a walk by Yessenia Castillo and a double by Yadira Castillo, launching a double to left that scored both.
“It’s a really good feeling, especially that it was a team effort,” Barton said. “I was pretty nervous going up to bat but felt good getting a hit and getting two runs in.”
After that, baserunners were hard to come by for either team. Valdez walked in the third, and nobody else reached until a Shyanne Vargas single in the fifth. Vista del Lago’s Ally Smith reached in the sixth on an error and became the only Eagle to reach scoring position on a Gaby Segura sacrifice bunt. But two strikeouts left her stranded.
“We have a couple of errors here and there, but we’ve managed to work around any errors there have been and so because of that, we’re feeling OK,” Pikas said. “But as we move on, we can’t afford to give teams extra outs. This is a very good team, and they’re going to get better.”
Pacheco next faces Valley Oak League champion East Union at 5 p.m. Thursday at Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton.
Armijo 5, Turlock 4
in Turlock – After the Bulldogs took all three doubles matches, and the Indians had three singles victories, this Division I section quarterfinal came down to the No. 2 singles match.
Facing Armijo’s Andrew Freeman, Turlock’s Marco Andres took the first set 6-1 before the match turned on a dime and he lost the second set 6-0. The third and deciding set was tied 4-4 before Freman took the last two games. With Freeman leading 5-4, the 10th game was tied 30-30 and Freeman secured the final two points to finish Andres.
Ceres 6, Oakmont 3 in Ceres – Four Ceres singles players posted straight-set victories to lead the Bulldogs to over the Vikings of Roseville in Division II.
Ceres advances to the semifinals, where today the Bulldogs will meet Sacramento’s Rio Americano, which beat Manteca 7-2 on Monday.
– David Witte
Los Banos Enterprise