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Tigers, Lions prep for second season

Section softball playoffs begin this week
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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It has been a significant break between the end of the regular season and the start of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II softball playoffs.

With her team set to enjoy its first trip to the postseason in some time, Roseville High coach Jennifer Birch took a measured approach to preparing her team for its opener Friday night against McClatchy.

“The break is very long, but we tried to keep it very light last week with the intention of pushing hard this week,” Birch said. “The girls have made their goal of making it to playoffs, and I wanted to reward them for their hard work by giving them a bit of a break. Last week we went more of the team-bonding route, but this week it's time to get it done.”

The Tigers face a few challenges heading into the playoffs, with very young pitching being high on the list. Freshman Delany DeMello has emerged as Roseville’s go-to pitcher, and she will be called on to get it done against the Lions.

Perhaps more critically, Roseville will need to fill a big hole as three-time all-league second baseman Alicea Coy is out for the year with ligament damage in her wrist. That has been an area of concern during the preparation for the tourney.

The Metro League is not known for its softball powerhouses, but Birch is prepared for the battle this opener will be.

“I believe that any team that makes it to the playoffs has the ability to win, so we are not going to take anyone lightly,” Birch said. “If the girls continue to practice hard, play hard, and stay focused, then they too can make great things happen on the field.”

The game begins at 5 p.m. Friday at the Sacramento Softball Complex and the winner will be right back out there for a 3 p.m. semifinal contest on Saturday.

In Lodi, Roseville’s other playoff softball team gets its postseason going Wednesday, as Valley Christian Academy begins the Division VII playoffs against Brookside Christian. The D-VII tourney is a single-elimination event that concludes with multiple games in Stockton Saturday.

“Our team is really playing well right now and I think we have a good chance,” said VCA coach Shawnda Bowen. “Last year we came so close. They have worked really hard and are looking forward to this weekend.”

The battle with Brookside begins Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Lodi Softball Complex.

FYI:

Sac-Joaquin Section Division II softball playoffs

First round, Friday at Sacramento Softball Complex

5 p.m., Field 3 – Oak Ridge vs. Rocklin

5 p.m., Field 4 – Roseville vs. McClatchy

7 p.m., Field 3 – Rosemont vs. Ponderosa

7 p.m., Field 4 – Del Oro vs. Cordova