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Down to last out, Woodcreek wins Division II section softball crown

By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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Woodcreek High School’s softball team took the field for every game this season with the same approach: Play it all the way through until the end.

The Timberwolves never let up, and it paid off with a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship Wednesday afternoon.

Down to their last out, Woodcreek scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and beat Del Campo 3-2 at the Sacramento Softball Complex. It was the second section banner for Woodcreek in five days with the girls soccer team having won a championship Saturday.

Coach Art Banks said his team “didn’t look at winning anything” — the Sierra Foothill League, even a section title.

“We looked at one game at a time,” Banks said after Woodcreek collected its third softball section crown. “Like we told our kids at the beginning of this game, it’s not, ‘We’re winning a championship tonight.’ It’s, ‘Let’s play this game tough and play it completely and until the end.’ The girls took that and ran with that.”

Literally.

The Timberwolves (26-4) stranded four runners in scoring position through six innings but junior Alexia Pratt drew a one-out walk and junior Amanda Horbasch chopped a single over third base. Senior Paige Davis grounded out to second to advance both runners.

Sophomore Jenna Curtan then grounded a single past a diving first baseman to score Pratt, and when the second baseman couldn’t control the ball, Banks sent freshman pinch runner Jessica Nogosek home to tie the score.

“Everyone was yelling and I couldn’t really hear,” said the speedy Nogosek, who was promoted to the varsity team for the playoffs. “As soon as I was rounding the base, all I heard was, ‘Go, go, go,’ so I just kept going, and we scored it. It feels great.”

Curtan immediately stole second, then junior Christal Vierra lofted a high popup
into the outfield just behind shortstop. Del Campo’s left and center fielders never got to the ball, and the shortstop hustled to get back. She got a glove on the ball, but it squirted out and hit the ground as Curtan raced home with the winning run.

“I was really, really happy,” Curtan said. “We’ve worked so hard this whole season just to get to this moment. It’s so unreal. It’s so awesome. I’m so proud of everybody. Christal did a great job up there. She’s been great for us all year.”

“I was on my toes the whole time,” said Davis, who plans to play at Sacramento City College next season. “It was so nerve racking, but it makes the game so much more interesting and a lot more fun, so I’m just glad we won. We did what we had to do.”

Curtan had three of Woodcreek’s six hits. The winning rally started with the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters in the order. Horbasch allowed one earned run and five hits and struck out eight in 5 1/3 innings. Junior Lexi Wilkerson retired five of the six hitters she faced and earned the win in relief.

Banks said this section championship was special.

“Our team as a whole has a lot of potential, and there’s a lot of people who can make plays and do things and make things happen,” he said. “It’s not any one person, any one game. It’s several people all year long. This game just goes to show it takes everybody to help score runs.”