SACRAMENTO — The unbeaten season was no more, but that loss doesn’t matter much because a new banner will hang in the gym.
It took two games, but the Vacaville High softball team ended up winning Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship after shutting out Pleasant Grove 3-0 in the second and deciding game at the Sacramento Softball Complex, Wednesday.
There was only one bump in the road for the Bulldogs (29-1-1) in what could have been an unbeaten season, and it came in game one of the championship as they fell 3-2 to the Eagles (25-9-1).
“The record was never really an issue,” Vacaville coach Liz Sauerwein said. “We just wanted this game, the championship game.”
The championship goal came true as Julia DePonte had two RBIs and Maddie Rojas had one in the win. Maddie Rojas homered in the bottom of the third, while DePonte went deep in the bottom of the fifth. Her first RBI, though, came in the home half of the first inning as she reached first on a fielder’s choice, scoring Alyse Rojas.
Katie Kibby pitched complete games in both of Wednesday’s outings for Vacaville, and let go of the emotions of the first game to focus on the second.
“I cried, let out some tears and frustration, but my team picked me up,” Kibby said. “They hit and played defense. They had my back and cheered me on.”
Kibby’s focus showed in the beginning of the second game, getting two straight fly-outs after allowing two hits from the first three batters in the top of the first. In the second inning, Pleasant Grove led off with a hit again, but Kibby went 1-2-3 after that, and 1-2-3 in the third and fourth innings.
The Eagles threatened in the fifth when Katherine Antigua led off with a single to shallow left. Autumn Miller sacrificed Antigua over with a bunt, then Sabrina Hicks hit a single in the third at-bat of the inning, putting runners on first and third. Kibby got out of the jam when she got the next two batters to fly out to end the inning.
The last inning was dramatic for one at-bat as Antigua led with a pop-up in the infield that fell between two indecisive Bulldogs. But that was the end of the drama as Vacaville ended the game on – what else – a fly-out to Sierra Smith in center field.
Pleasant Grove scattered 10 hits over the two games, including one home run from Celina Matthias.
Vacaville had eight hits in the first game, while adding six in the second. The Bulldogs only two runs of the first game came in the first inning as DePonte hit a deep double that reached the fence, scoring Alyse Rojas. The second run came on a check-swing from Izzy De La Garza, which stayed fair and scored Maddie Rojas.
Throughout the rest of the game, Vacaville stranded 10 batters.
Hits in the first game came from Maddie Rojas, Rachel Heizer, DePonte, Kylie Larsen, Megan Vasquez and two from Alyse Rojas.
This is Vacaville’s fourth section title and the first since 2005. The others were in 1988 and 2003.
Sauerwein said she was excited for the girls about the win and the season.
“They worked so hard for the whole year,” the coach said. “They worked every day for this and it was our goal from the beginning to get here. We set our goal high and we got there . . . This was the most amazing season I have ever had. These girls have so much heart and they played so tough and I’m so appreciative of that.”
The Bulldogs will look to have another good run next season as they only graduate four seniors: DePonte, Heizer, De La Garza and Alyssa Schneider.
Kibby, Maddie Rojas and Alyse Rojas are only sophomores.