TRACY – Entering the game in the bottom of the last inning with the tying run at the plate, two runners on and no outs would be pressure-filled for the most seasoned of pitchers – just do not tell that to East Union sophomore Delaney Pamplin.
Leading by three runs, Pamplin took to the chalked circle against Merced in the bottom of the seventh with runners on first and second with no out. Pamplin struck out her first two batters and induced a popout to second baseman Deja Guzman to end the game and give the Lancers a 3-0 win over the Tigers in the Diamond Bracket third-place game of the NorCal Classic on Saturday at the Tracy softball Complex.
“I just tried to get the outs and get us out of the inning to finish the game,” Pamplin said. “I warmed up a few inning before that and I was pretty loose when I came in.
“When (Deja) Guzman made that catch, I was glad we were getting out of it – it was a good game.”
Prior to the seventh, Mikayla Bongi pitched six innings of five-hit shutout ball for East Union (16-2).
“I felt loose and I felt good,” said Bongi, another Lancers sophomore. “The defense did real well. There were no errors and everything was good.”
With a 2-0 lead the Lancers added an insurance run in the sixth when Alejandra Rascon doubled and Alli Tajii – who was running for Gascon – scored when Guzman singled. East Union took a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Samantha Owen (2 for 3, double, two RBI) hit a home run well over the high-school fence and up to the park fence.
“I was really confident in my swing,” Owen said. “I have been working really hard on it and I knew I wanted to supply my team with runs.
“On the home run the girl just left it right on the plate and I just took advantage of it.”
The Lancers lost 5-2 to eventual bracket champion Elk Grove in their morning game.
“My only disappointment is that we were really flat the first game of the day,” East Union coach Brian Goulart said. “We are never like that – I don’t know what happened. We are a really good team, but we have some fine tuning to do to be considered a championship team and we are going to keep working on that as that has been our goal all year.
“Mikayla Bongi pitched extremely well. She struggled a little this morning, but she was very, very good this afternoon. I thought (catcher) Alejandra (Rascon) did a great job framing her up and Sam (Owen) did a great job swinging the bat, as did Cherish Burks.”
In the loss to the Thundering Herd (14-2), Michelle Castro had a two-RBI triple and Owen an RBI.
Goulart was not totally pleased with his team’s effort against Elk Grove.
“We had one of our starters sick so I had to change the lineup around, but you can’t make any excuses,” Goulart said. “And then we had a couple of players that needed attitude adjustments and that is hard to deal with on game day. You don’t want to do stuff that affects the team but we have standards we are going to maintain.
“We are never going to do anything but hustle, play hard and honor the game and that is the way it is going to be. Sacrificing some spots in the lineup once in a while to teach a lesson is well worth it.”
Pitman 5, Ripon 1
Bella Vista-Fair Oaks 0
The Pride (14-5) topped the Indians (15-4) for the Diamond Bracket championship.
“They played well for the tournament to get to this point,” Ripon coach Robert Vernon said. “We wanted them to experience championship games.
“Last weekend we came out on the positive side by winning the Standley Cup in Hayward. And we came in second here.”
Against Pitman, Felicia Ceja tripled and scored on a Taylor Jaquez sacrifice fly to give Ripon a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
“I am trying to work through some things at the plate,” Ceja said. “But I hit the third pitch I saw and got a triple.”
Darian Vandermaaten (3 for 4) scored on Mikaela Ferreira’s double in the third inning for the lone run of the game against the Broncos (14-4-1).
“Darian Vandermaaten had a pretty good day at the plate against Bella Vista,” Vernon said. “And that game was definitely a pitcher’s duel.”
Danielle Sperry went the distance for the Indians, striking out nine while walking two and sprinkling five hits over seven innings.
“I felt pretty dominant inside the circle,” Sperry said. “And the defense was great behind me.”