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East Union’s secures second playoff seed

Ceres’ postseason streak spanning 24 years snapped

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East Union’s secures second playoff seed

Lancer pitcher Kourtni McCall held Ceres to one first inning run, in a complete-game win over the Bulldogs Friday at Northgate Softball Complex.

JAGADA CHAMBERS/The Bulletin


POSTED May 15, 2010 2:16 a.m.
Kourtni McCall found herself down 1-0 just three batters into the game, but the senior hurler found some resiliency she didn’t know she had, lifting her East Union Lancers to a 7-1 Valley Oak League win and eliminating the Ceres Bulldogs from the 2010 postseason.

McCall was all she could be and more, holding Ceres to the one run, while striking out nine and providing the go-ahead run with a two-run home to left in the bottom of the first inning.

“That’s all I want to see out of her,” East Union head coach Brian Goulart said of McCall’s effort. “I have said it for a thousand years, she is the most talented player with the most to show.

“She did it tonight, she was the dominant player tonight.”

After sparking the Lancers with the two-run homer, East Union got cooking, getting a double from Brittany LaMar, followed by back-to-back singles from Jessica Lavoie and Cherrise Martin and an RBI single from Kelsey Emerson for a blistering quick 5-1 lead.

The first inning outburst was more than enough support for McCall who cruised through the seven-inning gem, retiring 14 of the final 15 batters in order and not allowing a runner past second base after the third inning.

“At school everybody was asking me why I was so serious and I said I need to prepare myself mentally,” McCall said. “On Wednesday I had a pretty bad attitude and I was down on myself a lot, so I thought I needed to do this for my team and obviously for senior night.

“I came out with vengeance and we played for blood.”

Ceres seemed to be ready for the expected challenge, coming into the contest riding a 24-consecutive-season playoff streak. But after senior captain Jode Johnson’s solo shot in her first at-bat, the Bulldogs proved incapable of mustering any success against McCall. Sierra High reaped the benefits of Ceres’ misfortunes, snatching the VOL’s No. 3 seed with the Bulldogs’ loss.

East Union (13-3 VOL, 21-6 overall) had no interest in resting on its four-run cushion, getting runners on in each of the final four innings and manufacturing insurance runs in the third and fifth innings.

“You are never safe,” Goulart said. “In that game, never. There is no level of comfort and they are a very good team. It was like last year, we got eliminated because of some things and then these guys turn around and it was our turn.

“Good teams do the fight-back thing, I expect the world from Ceres and I expect it from our girls as well.”

Lamar finished the contest 3 for 3 with a double and two singles to pace the Lancers. Leadoff hitter Jillian Goulart was 1 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored, while Lavoie was 3 for 3 and drove in a game-high three runs. Martin finished 1 for 2 with a sacrifice and a run scored.

“Lately I haven’t been in a slump, but I just wasn’t choosing the right pitches to swing at,” LaMar said. “I got on the tee and worked with a couple of people and got my swing down. Confidence is really the key.

“If you don’t have confidence you are not going to hit.”

Ceres (11-5, 17-9-1) finds itself on the outside looking in, while East Union will be preparing for a matchup with the Capital Valley Conference’s No. 1 seed, either Cosumnes Oaks or Center highs. Regardless of the matchup, East Union will have to open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Softball Championships with a win or its season will come to an instant end.

“Probably our most important thing is we really have to work together,” LaMar said of the Lancers’ postseason chances. “If we can all do good and get things going back-to-back-to-back that will be key. “Hitting is contagious for us, if the first person can get on it gets easier for us.”

The Lancers will kick off postseason play Wednesday at Arnaiz Stadium in Stockton at 5 p.m. An East Union victory will give the club a second game, scheduled for a 7 p.m. first pitch.
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