Roseville drops pitcher's duel in section softball semifinals

By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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The Cinderella story of the Roseville High softball team came to an end with a trip to Stockton Wednesday. Due to wet fields at the intended location, the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II softball semifinals were shipped south to Arnaiz Stadium in Stockton. The Tigers won their first two playoff games in the last eight years over the weekend, defeating opponents by a combined run tally of 13-1. Game one in Stockton, however, had Roseville losing its first of a double-elimination tournament. All that stood between a hoped-for trip to the section title game was a 1-0 loss to the Cordova Lancers. Delany DeMello took the mound again for the Tigers, having allowed just two hits in two prior postseason contests. Typically, when a pitcher gives up only three hits in a game the result isn’t a loss, but that was exactly the case through seven innings against Cordova. “We’ve depended on her for how many games,” said Roseville coach Jennifer Birch. “What I just told Delany is that from the start of the season up until now, if she puts her foot down she stops the bleeding, but that’s all she’s going to get. We have got to be able to score runs for her. We had our opportunities, but their pitcher handled us with that screwball inside. I hope we get the chance to see her again because we will be ready for her.” The game’s only scoring came in the Cordova fourth. A single padded with two flyouts created a one on and two out situation. Demello ran a pitch inside and hit the next batter, putting two runners on base and the next Lancer batter drove the RBI shot out to right-center. Lucky to stop the bleeding, the Tigers caught the trailing runner in between third and home and got the third out. The Tigers just couldn’t capitalize on scoring opportunities. They had a lead-off walk to Alexi Johnson in the first, but had infield outs through the next three batters. The fourth started on a lead-off single by Alicea Coy. She would make it to third on two groundouts and a pop out to the catcher stranded her at the corner to end the inning. The sixth saw another stranded runner as Jaycie Speck reached on an error with one out, followed by an infielder’s choice groundout. A fly-out by Johnson eventually stranded Speck at second. With their backs against the wall, the Tigers loaded two runners on two walks with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Savannah Mcmillin and Speck eagerly awaited the at-bat from catcher Kalei Levy. Down by one run with the section title nearly on the line, Levy stepped in for a pressure at-bat. She ripped a solid line drive that was reeled in by the pitcher for the game’s final out. “I told the girls not to let their story end tonight. They came all the way to Stockton for this, I mean come on,” Birch said. “I am proud of the way they played because again, they did not give up today. They were on that fence threatening late and we had some missed opportunities. We just have to move on a grow from that.” Less than 20 minutes was all the time available to dwell on the loss as Roseville had an elimination game date with Oak Ridge that immediately followed. The Trojans, knocked into the loser’s bracket Saturday by DeMello and Roseville, retired Ponderosa and earned a semifinal game against Roseville. The rematch was set once again between Demello and Oak Ridge ace, Kasey Stanchek. The winner would play Cordova for the D- II title on Thursday.