Rams run over Del Oro

Golden Eagles’ title quest denied by Garcia, Casa Roble
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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SACRAMENTO — By the time Kaitlyn Garcia showed she wasn’t perfect Thursday afternoon, the Del Oro High softball team’s hopes of a state title were awfully dim. Casa Roble’s diminutive ace held the Golden Eagles’ normally explosive bats in check all game long and the Rams ran away with a 6-0 victory to claim the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship. Garcia had a perfect game going into the sixth, when Jordan Courage ripped a single into left field. But a double play wiped out any shot Del Oro had of climbing back into the game as Casa Roble excelled in all facets of the game to repeat as section champs after winning the Division III crown in 2010. “They were on top of their game today,” Del Oro coach John Peck said. “Our hats are off to them. It just wasn’t our day. It’s a little disappointing, but we’re really proud of this team.” The Golden Eagles lost to Casa Roble last Saturday in a second-round playoff game. They rebounded with a win over Roseville on Monday to get another shot at the Rams. Courage was nearly as good as Garcia for most of the game. The Rams manufactured a run in the fourth as Krystal Aubert scored on a fielder’s choice. Casa Roble scored again in the sixth on a bloop RBI-single by Kaileigh Ruiz. After Garcia made quick work of the Eagles despite Courage’s single, her team rallied to give her plenty of insurance. MacKenzie Kenobbie and Gaby Chagolla knocked in two runs apiece in the top of the seventh to make it 6-0. Del Oro finally got to Garcia in the final frame. Hannah George led off with an infield single. After a fielder’s choice, Whitney Smith was hit by a pitch. Hanna Miller followed with a single to center field, but Courtney Smith was thrown out at the plate and Garcia got a flyout to set off the Rams’ celebration. “We played Del Oro twice (in the playoffs) and it’s scary every time,” Casa Roble coach Kristen Allen said. “We got lucky. They had a couple errors and we got some timely hits and we were able to get some breathing room there. (Garcia) is just a stud. I’m so proud of her.” Del Oro (17-8) was seeking its first section crown since 2002, when it won its third title in four seasons. The Eagles will return all but three players from the 2011 roster next year, though they will miss star catcher Aspen Echelmeier and first baseman Ciera Clark. “This was a great group, one of the best I’ve seen,” Peck said of his team. “They were back-to-back-to-back SFL champs and we beat two other SFL teams to get here. That was tough to do.” Garcia held down a Del Oro team that was batting over .300 in the playoffs. The Eagles belted 10 home runs as a team and produced 118 runs in 25 games on the year. “She just changed speeds, went up and down, in and out,” Peck said of Garcia. “She just kept us off balance. We tried a lot of things, but you can’t take anything away from her. She shut down a lot of really good hitters.”