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East Union begins championship defense in Nor-Cal Classic

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POSTED April 16, 2009 5:13 a.m.
Earning back-to-back titles in the toughest bracket of the prestigious Nor-Cal Classic, now in its sixth season of existence, would be nice, but East Union coach Brian Goulart said that isn’t the ultimate goal.

East Union and the rest of the area schools will be represented today through Saturday in the massive 56-team tournament, which will take place at four sites in Tracy and at Northgate Park in Manteca for the sophomore squads.

Goulart’s Lancers will begin defense of their Platinum Division championship at 9 a.m. today at the Tracy Sports Complex and will play either Buhach Colony or Linden in the second round at 1 p.m.

“I like that tournament because you get to play everybody,” Goulart said. “Last year we won the tournament and we played everybody. It wasn’t like we really went after the title; we looked at it like it’s a chance to give the people who have worked hard all season some playing time.

“All I care about is that everybody plays and that we play well. We’d like to win three or four games but if it doesn’t it’s not the end of the world, because what happens in league is what dictates who makes the playoffs.”

It of course helped East Union’s cause to have star pitcher Erin Arevalo in the circle last year. She and Kourtni McCall, the Lancers’ current ace, were named to the 2008 All-Tournament Team.

Manteca coach Todd Hardcastle is taking a similar approach.

“I don’t care so much about the wins and losses; I want to find out how we can improve to finish off the second half playing better ball,” said Hardcastle, whose team ended the first half of the Valley Oak League season with a 1-6 record following Wednesday’s 5-0 loss to first-place East Union.
Manteca and crosstown rival Sierra are in the Gold Division. Manteca kicks off with Hughson at 5 p.m., while Sierra takes on Enochs of Modesto. Both area teams will play again at 7.

First-round and winners-bracket games will take place at the Tracy Sports Complex for the Platinum and Gold divisions, and a few consolation games will be at West High. The three Manteca schools will wrap up the tournament with two more games Saturday.

Weston Ranch opens play in the Bronze Division at 8 a.m. Friday against Ripon Christian on the West High varsity field, then at 10 vs. Ripon. Ripon starts with Delhi at 8, and Ripon Christian plays Delhi at 10.
The sophomore tournament will feature Manteca, East Union, Sierra, Ripon and Weston Ranch at Northgate Softball Complex starting today.

For directions, brackets and additional information, visit the tournament’s website at www.eteamz.com/norcalclassic.

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