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Lady Tigers ousted in rematch with Oak Ridge

Roseville can't duplicate win over section powerhouse
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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Put it all on the line and make it a grudge match. The Roseville Tigers and Oak Ridge Trojans met for a one-game playoff decider Wednesday night in Stockton. Losing earlier in the day to Cordova kept Roseville from bypassing Oak Ridge and moving straight into the section title game. Trying to fend off the Trojans for a second time this postseason the Tigers were hit hard early and couldn’t recover. The bubble that surrounded Roseville in the first two rounds this postseason was popped as its first loss to Cordova preceded the 8-1 double-elimination loss to Oak Ridge. For the second time in a matter of days, this game featured a pitching duel between Delany Demello and Oak Ridge’s Kasey Stanchek. This time Stanchek had the win, pitching a complete game allowing just the one earned run in the third. Demello lasted 1 1/3 innings, facing eight batters and walking four. Gabby Gonzalez inherited a bases-loaded, one-out situation in relief, and Oak Ridge turned it up with a five-run inning. “It’s unfortunate that things went that way, but I told our team not to let it take away from everything we’ve accomplished,” said Roseville skipper Jennifer Birch. “I see tremendous growth in our players and again they never gave up in this game.” The Tigers scored their only run after the five-run second inning. Stanchek loaded the bases on a strikeout dropped by the catcher against Jaycie Speck, Kalei Levy’s single to left and a walk to Emily Wagner-Davis. Alicea Coy drew the walk bringing in Speck from third and a 5-1 momentum changer with just one out. Kayla Fields and Gonzalez both flew out as Roseville failed to capitalize on a bases-loaded inning in the third. “I’ve seen this team persevere through some big games,” Birch said. “Nobody gave us a shot to get this far and not even just in playoffs, but back in league. Winning that big one against Woodcreek, going 10 innings against Del Oro and beating them, overcoming the injuries and people stepping up are all qualities of this team. But it was frustrating in this last game. It’s just inappropriate to leave with that score because we risk forgetting about everything we’ve accomplished.” Birch brought in Fields to pitch in the bottom of the sixth. She sandwiched a strikeout in between two groundouts, retiring the side in her only inning in the circle. Roseville entered the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II tournament as a second seed from the SFL despite a roster that boasts just a pair of seniors – Wagner-Davis and Speck. As a freshman DeMello undoubtedly gained a world of experience in her first playoff run as a Tiger. With three years left, Demello joins 15 returning players to next year’s squad. Their 9-3 SFL record gained them access to the section title run with an overall record of 18-8-1. Next year the Sierra Foothill League and Sac-Joaquin Section can expect a young, experienced Tiger lineup that fell just one game short of the title game.