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It’s Roseville vs. Woodcreek in Division II softball

By: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Thanks to two strong pitching performances and effective offensive strategy, the Roseville Tigers and Woodcreek Timberwolves will meet in the Sac-Joaquin Division II softball playoffs.

The Tigers defeated Rosemont 7-0 on Friday, and Woodcreek beat Rio Linda 2-1 to set up a winners’ bracket semifinal clash at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Sacramento Softball Complex.

These teams faced each other three times in the regular season with Roseville winning two. Both coaches spoke of familiarity with their opponent.

“We’ve played Roseville plenty of times,” Woodcreek coach Art Banks said. “We’re going to go after them the best that we can.”

“We all know each other really well,” Roseville coach Jennifer Birch said. “So it’s going to be a battle. It always is. They’ll play hard. They’ve grown up with each other and played since they were little. They’re all friends off the field, but when we get on the field, it’s a battle to the end.”

Roseville senior Delany DeMello struck out eight in shutting out Rosemont.

“She was hitting her spots and getting ahead early,” Birch said. “That was the best game she’s thrown all year. That’s huge for her to peak right now.”

Roseville’s offense was powered by efficiency and small-ball strategy. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Lollie Fitzpatrick ripped a leadoff double and advanced to third base on a Gabby Gonzalez bunt. Kayla Fields drove home the run with a sacrifice fly.

The Tigers scored two runs in the third and one in the fourth after Rosemont pitcher Aleshia Ayers hit a batter with the bases loaded to score Gonzalez.

Gonzalez stroked an RBI double in the fifth and put down a squeeze bunt in the seventh for Roseville’s final run.

“I liked the momentum in the dugout,” Birch said. “They hit the ball hard. We took ourselves out of some big innings with some base-running mistakes, so we’re going to have to learn from that. But I liked the way they were aggressive, hitting the ball and attacking the ball. And we executed our bunts.”

The Timberwolves were led by the strong pitching of sophomore Amanda Horbasch, who struck out 10, four of them looking. Rio Linda’s run came on a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

“She’s just moving the ball,” Banks said. “She did a great job of keeping it down. She kept it out of their hitting zone. She had a great game.”

Woodcreek scored a run in the first and displayed its offensive efficiency in the third. Paige Davis reached base on an error by Rio Linda second baseman Amber Swett. Jenna Curtan followed with a sacrifice bunt, and Hayley Gately singled in what would be the winning run.

“We did some things really well,” Banks said. “There’s some things we still need to work on, obviously. We’re going to continue to work on those things and prove that we’re ready.”

The winner between Roseville and Woodcreek will advance to the winners’ bracket final at 6 p.m. Monday, May 23. Along with Del Oro, the Sierra Foothill League has three of the four berths in the semifinals.