Wednesday, May 6, 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

.

Solano News

 
Cinco de Mayo event brings communities together

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Western Railway Museum plans special events

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A2, 3 Comments | Gallery

Solano events will mark National Day of Prayer

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
Kozak to take command of 349th AMW

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Supervisors grant approval for internship program

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Solano marks Mental Health Month during May

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Doctor to discuss diabetes risks during free talk

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A6

 
Frazier sets community coffee with new chief

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6

 
Caltrans announces work on Highway 160

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

 
Caltrans outlines work on Highway 29

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

 
 
2 hurt in Fairfield freeway crash

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 22 Comments

Vacaville police announce training at outlet stores

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A6

 
Comedies, dramas, documentaries hit screens this weekend

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Fairfield police log: May 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: May 3, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: May 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: May 3, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Author, evangelist to address Writers Resource group

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A10

CHP officer has close call with vehicle

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
 
.

US / World

Obama picks Dunford as new Joint Chiefs chair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US reprimands agents after man forgotten in San Diego cell

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Huckabee, the other man from Hope, opens 2016 bid

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

60 bodies recovered in Nepal valley hit by quake, mudslide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Nigerian troops who fled Boko Haram now have them on the run

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Two decades after ‘Black Hawk Down,’ Kerry visits Somalia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Doubts raised about Islamic State’s claim in Texas attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Forest Service chief expects busy firefighting season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Van Gogh work fetches over $66 million at New York auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Senate adopts GOP budget targeting ‘Obamacare’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Girl shoots self with father’s gun

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

FAA gives OK for farmers to utilize drones

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Today in history: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: May 6, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Case of date rape from 30 years ago preys on husband’s mind

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

 
Horoscope: May 6, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

Feeling peckish for pesto? Don’t limit yourself to basil!

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Weeknight vegetarian: Peel a plaintain, elevate a taco

By The Washington Post | From Page: B7

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Miley Cyrus on Bruce Jenner, pink armpits, her new charity

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Singer Chris Brown’s battery case in Las Vegas dropped

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Bono and U2 set as sole guests on Friday’s ‘Tonight Show’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

 
Armijo boys tennis team falls 5-4 in playoffs to defending champs

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Prep swimming: Rodriguez boys win MEL title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Armijo opens playoffs with 6-0 win behind Nadia Martinez hat trick

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Ryan Vogelsong pitches surging Giants to 6-0 win over Padres

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Local Report: Rodriguez boys swim to MEL title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Conley comes back, leads Grizzlies past Warriors 97-90

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vacaville grad Hekking signs with Chargers as free agent

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Prep badminton: Rodriguez gets MEL win over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Prep boys volleyball: VCS falls to Golden Sierra in finale

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Manny Ramirez Jr vows to make own baseball name for himself

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Derby winner nears return to track for Preakness prep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NCAA’s new head of officials ready to make tough calls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Former Raiders fullback Marv Hubbard dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers Bruce Miller charged with vandalism, not domestic case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Chavez shines in A’s 2-1 victory over Twins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Raiders to cut ties with James Jones, Miles Burris

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders cut ties with 8 players

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Athletics release outfielder Cody Ross after short stint

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
San Jose beats Houston 1-0 in Dominic Kinnear’s return

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

With Wall out, Hawks beat Wizards 106-90 to even series 1-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Suit filed against Pacquiao for not disclosing injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Los Angeles sues Wells Fargo, alleging fraud by employees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
.

Obituaries

Lois G. Johnston (Lieb) (Bayard)

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
William Fay Carbine Sr.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6