The East Union softball and Sierra and Ripon baseball teams are all seeking revenge in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
Tonight, No. 2 East Union (27-2) takes on top-seeded Pioneer in the Division III semifinals at the Sacramento Softball Complex. Pioneer (25-2), of Woodland, is responsible for one of the Lancers’ two losses, edging them 6-5 in eight innings in the Albie Aware Cancer Foundation Game in Sacramento.
They’ve each lost once since the March 28 showdown; East Union to the Elk Grove 5-3 in the Nor-Cal Classic, while Pioneer dropped a 9-4 decision to Bear River, the third-place finisher in the Division V tournament. Elk Grove, East Union and Pioneer are the top three ranked teams in that order, according to MaxPreps, and are No. 19, 20 and 29 in the state.
East Union turned in a dominant effort in Saturday’s quarterfinal round, knocking No. 3 Ponderosa into the consolation bracket. Pioneer edged No. 4 Ceres 2-1 in eight innings. Both Ponderosa and Ceres were eliminated Monday in upset wins by No. 12 Cordova and No. 6 Vanden, respectively.
Pioneer is led by power-hitting catcher Rylie Carlier, who has 14 homers and 50 RBIs on the season. The Lancers counter with Oregon-bound Cherish Burks (.552, 46 runs), Alexis Erich (.649, 10 HRs, 52 RBIs) and Sam Owen (.616, seven HRs, 53 RBIs). The rematch is scheduled for a 4 o’clock start, with the loser taking on the Cordova-Vanden winner at 6 tonight. The championship round is on Wednesday.
In the Division V baseball playoffs, No. 7 Ripon (16-11) will look to keep its season alive against No. 3 Dixon (22-4) tonight at Billy Hebert Field. The best-of-three semifinal series started Saturday with Dixon rolling to an 8-3 victory. The Rams rallied to score all of their runs in the fourth inning. In the other semifinal opener, No. 4 Capital Christian stunned top-seeded Hughson, 3-2. First pitch is at 4 tonight, with the “if necessary” rubber match starting soon after.
Valley Oak League champion Sierra (19-6-1) is also hoping to even the score after suffering its worst loss of the season Saturday, as No. 11 Yuba City (18-2) scored 13 unanswered runs en route to a 13-4 victory. The series resumes Wednesday at the McAuliffe Memorial Ballparks in Sacramento with the “if” game to follow should Sierra win.
There could be a cross-town clash for the section title if Yuba City secures a win Wednesday and No. 5 River Valley does the same against No. 8 Rio Americano. River Valley defeated Rio 11-4 on Saturday.
The Division III and V finals take place next Monday, May 25 at a site yet to be determined.
Also, two area tennis standouts aim to make school history today in the twice-postponed Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Individual Tournament. Yok Jing Ma and Michael Lopez of Manteca are heading back to Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville to compete in the doubles semifinals.