RIVERBANK – The season is just getting underway, but East Union High’s softball squad is pretty close to mid-season form after continuing its dominance in the Ceres Tournament with two victories and a pool play championship Saturday at Rainbow Fields.
East Union (4-0) exposed both Hughson and Beyer highs with ease, holding both squads in check behind dominant pitching from
The Lancers have obviously opened the season on a high note, amassing a quick four consecutive victories and outscoring their opponents 16-7 over the four-game span.
“We’ve looked unbelievable so far,” Lancer head coach Brian Goulart said. “We are very deep, we’re playing with a lot of heart, and we can really hit.
“Our good hitters have matured and are ready to face good pitching.”
East Union had success against each pitcher they faced and got all the effort they’d need out of their two hurlers, Kourtni McCall and Jackie Ketner. McCall was solid against Hughson, holding the previously unbeaten Huskies to five hits over seven innings, while striking out nine. Ketner was as impressive, working from under a 3-0 deficit to grind out the win while striking out four.
“Our pitchers did everything we asked them to do,” Goulart said. “Even when we didn’t play perfect defense behind them, they continued to battle and keep us in the game.”
Brittany Lamar tripled home Cherie DeJesus in the first inning and then McCall doubles home Lamar giving East Union all the offense they would need against Hughson.
Jillian Goulart held the hot bat in the championship against Beyer, leading the team by going 3-for-3. Teammate Cherrise Martin finished the contest 2-for-2 with a pair of quality at-bat’s, while McCall stayed hot with a 2-for-3 performance.
East Union fought off a late Beyer rally, ending the game on a great pick at first base from sophomore Kelsey Emerson.
East Union is not looking to take any easy routes into Valley Oak League action, heading into league play on the heels of contests against Division I St. Mary’s of Stockton and Central Section power Clovis for final tune-up’s.
“For us, we want to find out what we are made of,” Goulart said. “All that matters is how you finish in league and how you do in the playoffs. If you don’t test yourselves and try and play the best teams that you can than you’re just cheating your team.
“Whether you win or not doesn’t matter, you have to find out how good you are against good teams.”
The Lancers will meet up with St. Mary’s Thursday at Big League Dreams.
Waterford 2, Sierra 0
The Timberwolves would have loved to finish tournament play with a pair of wins, but they’ll have to settle for the split after dropping the nightcap to Waterford 2-0 Saturday.
Sierra (2-2) cruised to victory against Pitman, bouncing the Pride 5-0 behind another dominating pitching performance from Gabby Hawkins. Hawkins was masterful against the Pride, striking out 13 while surrendering just two hits. Sierra clearly made positive strides during the tournament and will try and fine-tune everything prior to the start of the Valley Oak League season.
“Overall, I think we did fine,” Sierra head coach Nick Olmo said. “Of course you want to walk out with the four wins, but we’re still trying various girls out in different positions and trying to feel our way around.”
The Timberwolves will be on the road Tuesday when they take on the Linden Lions.
Merced 9, Weston Ranch 0
The Cougars were able to get their Ceres Tournament play started in the right direction when they rolled past the Summerville Bears 4-2, before dropping their second game to Merced in a rout.
The Cougars jumped out with one in the first, one in the third and another in the fourth for a 3-0 lead. Summerville would remain quiet until the sixth inning when they put up two runs, but it would not be enough.
“We played strong in the first game and I was very pleased with how we were able to play,” Cougars head coach Melanie Berezay said. “It’s always tough to play back-to-back games, and I think we just shutdown that last game.
“Overall, I was happy with their performance; they came out and played well.”
Serena Hernandez went the distance for the Cougars in the win, giving up just two hits and striking out three. Andrea Vega went 1-for-3 at the plate, swiping four bases and scoring two runs.
Weston Ranch will continue tournament action Monday, with two rainout makeup’s against Livingston and Waterford, with the Livingston game scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. first pitch.