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T’wolves ranked top-10 nationally

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POSTED April 4, 2013 2:04 a.m.

Feared regionally, the Sierra softball team now has the respect of national pundits, too.

For now, at least.

The Timberwolves began Wednesday on a high, moving up five spots to No. 9 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings following victories over Kimball and Weston Ranch last week.

Then came the crash.

The Timberwolves’ 11-game, season-long winning streak was snapped Wednesday evening by East Union.

Sophomore Cherish Burks homered and had the game-sealing outfield assist in a stunning 3-2 victory.

“We’re aware of it,” Sierra coach Nick Olmo said before Wednesday’s game, alluding to the national ranking.

“Now whether the girls are or not, I don’t know. … It’s nice. It’s flattering. But we’re not trying to focus on that, so much as we are trying to play good ball this season.”

Sierra had been better than good in the first five weeks of the season. Olmo’s girls were near-perfect, elevating their stature on MaxPreps.

Julie Deanda’s two-run double highlighted a 3-1 victory over Kimball on March 26. Sierra trailed for six innings before finally solving Kimball freshman Samantha Sarmiento.

Sommer Wilson also had a big knock, lifting an RBI double to the fence in left-center field that was a few feet short of a homer.

Sierra could have used those heroics on Wednesday.

The Timberwolves will fall when the next rankings are released. Just how far remains to be seen. Frontier of Bakersfield was ranked seventh in the last release, but three losses at the Easter Classic knocked it from the top-25.

All of that is secondary for Olmo and his club now. This is rivalry week, and as East Union showed, anything can happen when pride and bragging rights are thrown into the mix.

The Timberwolves look to rebound on Friday against Manteca.

“As coaches, you get some excitement knowing you’re right up there with some of these good teams,” Olmo said.

“We’ve mentioned some stuff to them in the past and they’ll be like ‘Oh, that’s great’ and then they’re back to talking about the weekend. They want to do a good job this year and that’s their only focus.”

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