Saturday, February 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Vacaville, Rio Vista unbeaten heading into SJS softball playoffs

By
From page B7 | May 16, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — There’s something special about an undefeated season.

The Vacaville and Rio Vista high school softball teams made it through the regular season without a loss and hope to keep it that way in the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

The Bulldogs (24-0-1) open Division I play against Pitman of Turlock at the Sacramento Softball Complex on Saturday at 9 a.m.

The Rams (15-0) take on Mariposa or Golden Sierra of Garden Valley in the Division VI semifinals at the Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Both teams have balance with devastating offenses and solid pitching backed by swarming defenses.

“They have really good chemistry and they have heart and they just love to play ball,” said Liz Sauerwein, who’s in her eighth season as Vacaville coach. “We call them gamers, because once they get between the lines, nothing else matters. They just come together. I’ve never seen a team with such chemistry at game time.”

Alyson Styles is in her third year as coach of the Rams and each year they’ve qualified for the playoffs, tying for the Sierra Delta League title in 2012 and finishing second last season before running away with the crown this year.

“The team is made up of three seniors, two juniors and six freshmen,” Styles said, “and the juniors and seniors have been playing together and been part of program for a while. They were part of the team that tied for first two years ago and made the playoffs last year.”

The only blemish on Vacaville’s record is a 2-2 tie with Ponderosa of Shingle Springs in the fourth game of the season, the opener in the tournament in Elk Grove.

When asked if her team would like another crack at the Bruins, Sauerwein chuckled and said, “Yes we would, definitely. I think that’s the one, I don’t want to say glitch, but blip on our record.

“We are where we are because of hard work. In the (Elk Grove) tournament I don’t think we knew we’d be where we are today. We were trying out different things, trying to find our A team.”

The Bulldogs are led by senior shortstop Julia DePonte, the newly crowned Monticello Empire League Player of the Year.

The University of Washington-bound DePonte is batting a sizzling .548 with eight doubles, seven triples, five home runs and 32 RBIs, according to Maxpreps.com.

“She’s our anchor, she’s phenomenal,” Sauerwein said. “To me she’s the most feared hitter in the MEL. She’s just a great all around player.”

DePonte plays behind MEL Pitcher of the Year Katie Kibby, who’s won all 24 of her starts with 14 shutouts. The sophomore has a 0.57 earned run average with 206 strikeouts and 37 walks in 160 innings.

“Katie, she’s the total package,” Sauerwein said. “She throws hard, she has a lot of movement and good control. She’s only a sophomore. She’s improved a lot from last year. To see where she’s at now, I’m excited to see where she’ll be at in two years.”

Also named to the all-MEL first team were senior catcher Rachel Heizer (.380, 2 HR, 23 RBIs) and freshman center fielder Alyse Rojas (.526, 6 doubles, 6 triples, 31 runs).

Receiving honorable mention were sophomore third baseman Maddie Rojas (.364, 4 doubles, 3 triples, 19 RBIs) and senior second baseman Izzy Delagarza (.264, 3 HR, 19 RBIs).

Rounding out the starting lineup are junior first baseman Kylie Larsen, freshman left fielder Morgan Conner, sophomore right fielder Brianna Dick and senior designated player Megan Vasquez.

“We’ve asked a lot of girls to play out of their (normal) position,” Sauerwein said. “They’ve done it without question, they’ve given 100 percent.”

And done it well enough to be ranked fifth in the state, third in Northern California and first in the Sac-Joaquin Section by Cal-Hi Sports. According to Maxpreps.com, the Bulldogs are 13th in the Xcellent 25, fourth in the state, second in Northern California and first in the SJS.

Sauerwein appreciates how her team has handled being so highly ranked and having an unbeaten record.

“The girls don’t talk about the record,” the coach said. “It’s not that they don’t care less, but once they win a game, they move on to the next one.”

And Sauerwein knows that because the Bulldogs are the top seed in the playoffs other teams will be looking to hand them their first loss of the season.

“We’re going to be looked at as a stepping stone, a mountain people want to conquer because of the record and position,” Sauerwein said. The players “don’t bring (any added pressure) to practice, they don’t bring it to a game. They just want to play.”

So do the Rams, who simply destroyed each of their opponents this season, winning 13 games by the 10-run rule and the other two by seven runs (12-5 over Dixon) and six runs (12-6 over Bradshaw Christian).

“They basically won by mercy rule every game,” Stiles said. “They didn’t just win league, they dominated league.”

It’s a point of pride that the softball team is the only one at Rio Vista to win a Sierra Delta League title since the school rejoined the Sac-Joaquin Section a few years ago.

“It’s the second time to have a (championship) banner,” Stiles said. “The first one was bittersweet. Awesome that we got the first one, bittersweet because we tied.”

A turning point for 2014 was the arrival of freshmen pitchers Reyna Alvarez, Celeste McGahey and Daryn Katuski, giving the Rams depth in an area in which they’ve often been sorely lacking.

“The three freshmen who came in had pitching experience. That’s one thing we struggled with in the past,” Stiles said. “We taught people to become a pitcher. We did well with that because we took first and second (place). This year with three freshmen coming in they’re not overworked in one game or don’t have to pitch back-to-back.”

The three pitch to fellow freshman Holly Witcraft (.444, 5 doubles, 20 RBIs). The infield is made up of senior Carli Schultz (.447, 5 doubles, 21 RBIs) at first base, Katsuki (.615, 8 doubles, 7 triples, 1 home run, 26 RBIs) at second when she’s not pitching, junior Kylee Hagan (.389, 4 doubles, 3 home runs, 21 RBIs) at shortstop and senior Brooke Smith (.244, 2 doubles, 11 RBIs) at third.

Manning the outfield are senior Kayla Oglesby (.457, 3 doubles, 18 runs) in left, junior Mariah Hernandez (.290, 24 runs) in center and freshmen Amber Hambita (400, 3 doubles, 11 runs) and Amber Ortega (.458, 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 16 RBIs) in right as well as McGahey (.333, 4 doubles), when she’s not pitching.

“I was concerned we had such a big division, half the team older players, half the team freshmen,” Stiles said. “I was concerned on how well we’d get along.”

That hasn’t been a problem, though there were some miscommunication on defense in the early going because the layers weren’t used to playing together.

“Now they move in synch,” Stiles said. “We don’t have those same problems we had in the beginning of the season.”

One problem is finding a way to win in the playoffs. The Rams are 0-2 in the postseason under Stiles, but the coach feels the team has all the pieces to make a serious run at the title.

“We have the best record,” she said, “because the girls worked their butts off to stay undefeated.”

Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.

Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer is a 1985 graduate of Brigham Young University. The Suisun City resident has been with the Daily Republic Sports Department since 1989 and has served as sports editor since 2007. He and his wife Jackie have four children.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

US / World

Man shoots wife, himself at Northern Calif. retirement home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
 
Thieves crash car through electronics store in San Francisco

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Some California farmers to go without federal water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

US, Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US appeals court: Marathon bombing trial can stay in Boston

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Congress OKs 1-week bill to keep Homeland Security open

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

US rescinds rule requiring judges to move to Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Woman knocked out by eggs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Mexico official: Police capture top capo ‘La Tuta’ Gomez

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Well-educated ‘Jihadi John’ no surprise to experts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ as a London lad shocks Britain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 28, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
How GOP can resolve immigration mess

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A8, 10 Comments

Unlikely winners of Greece’s surrender on euro

By Mark Gilbert | From Page: A8

 
A remedy for veterans’ care

By Bill Frist And Jim Marshall | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: Feb. 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Feb. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Poem about heaven helps dog owners when beloved pet dies

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Horoscopes: Feb. 28, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

Coca-Cola bottle as art? Atlanta’s High Museum takes a look

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

.

Sports

 
Vaca advances three wrestlers into semis at Masters

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Spurs snap 4-game skid, beat short-handed Kings 107-96

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Thompson scores 25 points, Warriors rout Raptors 113-89

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Casey McGehee’s move to Giants a homecoming of sorts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Kyle Busch released from hospital following foot surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bulls expect Derrick Rose back this season from knee surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Testimony: Several Hernandez texts are missing from phone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Approaching ‘last call’ for NHL GMs to tweak rosters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
PGA Tour to move Match Play to Texas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Notre Dame president credited for transforming school dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
MLS Commissioner Garber: Hopeful season will start on time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR car stolen from hotel before race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
McIlroy to miss cut at Honda Classic; Reed leads

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NHL fines Sharks’ Couture $5,000 for tripping from behind

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Browns agree to terms with quarterback Josh McCown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Tribes from around US gather to discuss legal marijuana

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Uber says database containing driver info was breached

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Signed contracts to buy US homes rise to 18-month high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Fiat Chrysler recalls 467K SUVs for possible stalling

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Southwest nearly done inspecting planes that were grounded

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
5 reasons US economy is stronger than Q4 GDP suggests

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Gabriel T. Traub

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Maria Kraszewski

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 2/28/2015

Right at Home: Decor made of bicycle parts

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

Real estate transactions for Feb. 28, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.80 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3