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Rivals could meet in D-IV quarterfinals

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Rivals could meet in D-IV quarterfinals

Allie Walljasper and the Sierra softball team have a tough road ahead in defense of its Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship next week.

JONAMAR JACINTO/Bulletin file photo/

POSTED May 10, 2014 12:15 a.m.

Looking forward to seeing an East Union-Sierra rematch?

You may not have to wait long.

The intra-city rivals are on the same side of the bracket in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs, which begins Monday with Western Athletic Conference No. 3 seed Pacheco (14-9) hosting Sierra Valley Conference No. 3 Vista del Lago (16-11) in the out-bracket game. The winner takes on Valley Oak League champion East Union (21-2), the virtual top seed of the tournament, Thursday at Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton.

An opening-round win for the Lancers could pit them against Sierra (14-5) in the quarterfinals later that night. The Timberwolves, of course, would first have to get past SVC champ Cosumnes Oaks (18-8). Cosumnes Oaks reached two of the last three consolation semifinals and are a threat to break through, but the Wolfpack gets a tough draw having to face Sierra’s LSU-bound ace Allie Walljasper.

Sierra is a scary lower-seeded squad, and the section’s reigning champion for the division. Last week, Walljasper led Sierra to a 1-0 upset of East Union, which had an opportunity to capture the outright VOL title. On top off pitching a shutout, Walljasper clobbered the deciding home run. Sierra went on to blank its other crosstown foe, Manteca, 6-0 to clinch the VOL’s final postseason berth in the regular-season finale.

On the other side of the bracket, Oakdale (20-5) and Los Banos (8-14) lock up in a battle of runners-up from the VOL and WAC, respectively. WAC champ Ceres (20-4) takes on SVC No. 2 Union Mine (15-5). All first-round winners advance to the double-elimination portion of the tournament.

Don’t be surprised if it’s an all-VOL encounter in the finals next Saturday, May 17. At least one VOL member has made the championship round 10 times in the last 11 years, with VOL schools (three for Oakdale, two for Sierra and one for EU) capturing six titles in that stretch.

Sierra is looking to advance to the final round for a fourth straight season after winning section banners in 2011 and ‘13. Oakdale topped the Timberwolves in the 2012 final.

Three of the top four teams in the MaxPreps SJS Division IV rankings are from the VOL — East Union tops the list with Oakdale, Ceres and Sierra following. Three other VOL clubs — Kimball at No. 6, Manteca at No. 9 and Weston Ranch at No. 11 — are in the top 11 and ranked ahead of teams that qualified for the playoffs.

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