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ROUNDING INTO FORM

Sierra bats catch up to gloves in win over Buffs

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ROUNDING INTO FORM

Monica Morado dives to try and tag out Kayla Campbell on a steal attempted Wednesday at Sierra High, where the T'Wolves downed Manteca, 4-0.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED April 2, 2009 5:40 a.m.

Both the Manteca and Sierra softball teams looked on top of their games Wednesday at Sierra High where the host Timberwolves prevailed 4-0.

For Sierra, not only were the bats alive and cracking, they were producing in clutch situations with consistency.

For the Buffaloes, an error-free defensive performance was the day’s highlight, especially in the outfield, where Melissa Bond and Danielle Roberts made a number of difficult plays look easy.

“We played great, I’m proud of my girls,” Manteca head coach Todd Hardcastle said. “I can’t pick out one thing they did wrong other than not hitting in clutch situations, but you’re facing Gabby Hawkins. It’s not like it’s an amateur out there — she’s a great pitcher.”

Indeed.

Hawkins allowed four Manteca hits and struck out six including the side in the second.

“It took me a while to get warmed up,” Hawkins said. “But I just focused on what I had to do and stepped up my game a little bit more.”

The Buffaloes threatened with runners in scoring position in both the first and third, but both times, the Timberwolves defense got the job done.

In the third, Dawn Kilpatrick made back-to-back diving stops to turn Manteca away.

“(Kilpatrick) will get dirty for me all day long,” Sierra head coach Nick Olmo said. “She’s just a great little second baseman. That ball has got to be way wide for her not to get to it, and even then she’s on the ground.

“She does an awesome job for us every week.”

But while Kilpatrick and the T’Wolves defense has never been an issue, the aluminum has.

That wasn’t the case Wednesday. While the line drives and long flies were defended well in the early going, Sierra started finding holes late.

Hawkins led off the fifth with a single and courtesy runner Samantha Murz scored two batters later on a clutch two-out double from Emily Silvia.

An inning later, Karissa Valdez drilled a double to the corner in left before trotting to the dish on Heather Scharmann’s mammoth two-run shot to straightaway center.

Stephanie Maestretti then roped a double before Kilpatrick knocked her home with a single to make it 4-0.

“It’s just a matter of confidence with us,” Olmo said. “They were a little down on themselves after the early part of the VOL, but I think this game is going to go a long way in boosting their confidence and getting them back into the game the way they should be.”
Hawkins was especially happy with the offensive explosion.

“It does feel good,” Hawkins said. “We started off the season without those bats, but now that we have them, we’ll be stronger, we’ll be able to play a better game.”

Scharmann, Kilpatrick and Valdez all finished 2 for 3 for the Timberwolves (3-2 Valley Oak League, 7-3-1).

Trina Solario smashed a ground-rule double for the Buffaloes (1-4 VOL, 4-6), and Chellsee Lee was 1 for 3.

The T’Wolves host Sonora Friday, while the Buffaloes welcome Oakdale.

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