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Placer softball goes 3-2 in Redding tournament

By: Journal sports staff
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The Lady Hillmen finally got into the win column Friday.

Apparently they enjoyed getting a victory so much, they decided to get two more victories before the weekend ended.

“It was really good to get those,” said coach Aaron Rubio, who later added, “there’s still work to be done.”

The Placer High softball team went 3-2 this weekend at the Cubs Classic tournament in Redding to improve to 3-8-1 on the year.

After opening the event with a 3-2 loss to Eureka Friday, Placer responded with a 6-1 win over Gridley and 5-4 triumph over Anderson on the same day.

Asked what went differently in the victories, Rubio said, “We didn’t implode in the late innings. We got the lead and we were able to hold it. In the previous games we had the lead and let it up with errors. Today we stayed pretty solid defensively and were able to close out.”

Against Eureka, Kaelin Amrein pitched a complete game, striking out 10 in four innings of work. Amrein also had a triple and scored on a pass ball.

In the Gridley game, Lizzie Rutherford got the win in the circle, giving up one run on five hits. She struck out three batters and walked three. At the plate, Sarah Kosmata went 2 for 4.

With the five-run lead, Placer was able to get Marie Schultes, a foreign exchange student from Germany, in the game for her first career at-bat.

Schultes, a senior, had never played softball before coming to America. Brooke Stufflebean, who singled in the Eureka game, gave up her turn at the plate so Schultes could take some swings.

“That really sparked the team big-time,” Rubio said. “That was huge.”

In the Friday nightcap vs. Anderson, Amanda Geil got the win in relief and allowed no runs in 2 1/3 innings. Kaitlyn Rubio drilled a three-run homer over the left-field fence and scored the game-winning run when she was walked in from third with the bases loaded.

Placer finished as a No. 1 seed Friday and continued tournament play Saturday in a single-elimination format.

“We hope to get more wins,” Rubio said before the Lady Hillmen took the field. “I think the girls are finally starting to get their confidence back.”

In Saturday’s opener, the Lady Hillmen beat Enterprise 14-6. Rutherford got the win and pitched six innings and struck out two batters. She allowed seven hits and four walks and the team made four errors.

Offensively, Placer was led by Abbie Strickland (4 for 4 with a double), Kassidy Kosmata (2 for 4 with two doubles), Geil (2 for 4 with a triple and double), Hailey Leggit (2 for 2), Rubio (2 for 4) and Kasey Miller (1 for 2).

In Saturday’s second game, Placer was eliminated from the tournament with a 5-2 loss against Chico. Chico used a five-run opening inning to knock Geil out of the game after 1/3 of an inning.

“We still have a lot of work,” Rubio said of his team, which begins Pioneer Valley League play on April 4 when Center comes to Auburn.

Amrein pitched 4 2/3 innings and struck out five batters while allowing no runs against Chico.

At the plate, Stufflebean had a double, Strickland, Kassidy Kosmata and Leggit also had hits.

Of the weekend as a whole, coach Rubio said, “We did a lot of good things. I’m happy with a lot of the things the girls did but there’s still work to be done. There’s still a lot of room for improvement.”