SACRAMENTO — Grey or black?
That is what Vacaville High softball coach Liz Sauerwein asked her players wondering what color uniform they wanted to wear in the championship game after besting Rocklin High 5-2 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals, Tuesday.
The Bulldogs (28-0-1) will face Pleasant Grove (25-8-1) in the championship round, Wednesday. The Eagles defeated Rocklin 5-2 in a semifinal matchup. They lost 2-1 to Vacaville, Monday. Pleasant Grove needs to beat the Bulldogs twice if they want the title, otherwise Vacaville only has to win once.
Barring a diving catch from center fielder Alyse Rojas to begin the top of the third, the Bulldog’s defense had an easy outing behind the arm of sophomore Katie Kibby. She induced the Thunder (22-7-1) into 13 fly-outs, and scattered four hits, two of which were home runs.
Rocklin’s struggle was mostly due to Kibby’s pitch of choice, her rise ball.
“It’s deadly,” Sauerwein said. “It moves and it’s wicked. Usually the rise ball is her best pitch. It’s devastating.”
Kibby got started early as she went 1-2-3 in the top of the first. The Bulldogs offense also got going early as Rachel Heizer singled to right field , moving Maddie Rojas to third and bringing in Alyse Rojas, who began the inning with a walk.
After beginning the inning with three-straight batters reaching base, Rocklin’s Maddie Wuelfing popped up Julia Duponte and struck out two to get out of the jam.
One of Kibby’s only blemishes was in the top of the third when the Thunder’s Jaclyn Amader homered to left with two outs.
Rocklin’s next hit would not come until eight batters later when Halle Williams hit a single to shallow left. The only other run came from Cali Lewis, who hit a solo-shot to left-center in the top of the sixth.
The Bulldog’s big inning was in the bottom of the fifth, ignited by a Maddie Rojas’ single into right field – a place where the ball would become very accustomed to traveling to in the inning.
Heizer then singled to right, advancing Maddie Rojas to second. After Vacaville’s second out of the inning, Izzy Delegarza hit a two-run double. Morgan Conner then singled to right field on a 3-1 count, scoring Delegarza. That was the end of Wuelfing’s day as she was replaced by Carli Cutler who ended up popping out Kylie Larsen to get out of the inning.
The Thunder began the top of the seventh with a lead-off single as Sam Moffat’s hit fell into left field. Kibby popped-up the next batter and ended the game on a 1-3 double play. On a 0-1 count, Rocklin’s Delaney Chrisman hit a liner to Kibby, who threw it to first and got Moffat to end the game.
Maddie Rojas ended the day a perfect 3 for 3 at the plate, while Heizer was 2 for 3. Duponte and Bailey Aguigui also had hits for the Bulldogs.
“We just have to keep playing like we know how,” Sauerwein said about the championship game. “We have to keep hitting and keep playing defense. . . Once we start hitting, we’re hard to stop.”
About the color of choice for the championship game, the seniors chose black.