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Sierra seniors play through pain to pick up last win
Heather Scharmann takes a good hack at a pitch during Sierra’s 5-1 win over Weston ranch Friday at home. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
Word came down well before game time Friday at Sierra High that the Oakdale Mustangs were requesting a forfeit because of a situation with an East Union player, and that if the forfeit is upheld, Sierra’s season would come to a close following seven innings with Weston Ranch.

The pill was especially bitter going down because the senior-laden Timberwolves had swept Oakdale and were surging toward their second straight postseason appearance and first-ever league championship.

Regardless of the depressing circumstances, all 10 of Sierra’s seniors made an impact in a 5-1 win over the Cougars.

“I don’t think our hearts were in it 100 percent,” Sierra head coach Nick Olmo said. “But we knew we had to win, if other things happen, we’re still mathematically in the hunt for a playoff berth.”

Krista Crain sparked the T’Wolves offense with a walk in the third and was hit home by fellow senior Emily Silvia.

 Sierra added four more in the fifth after Crain led off with a single and was hit home on Monica Morado’s RBI triple.

Silvia and Heather Scharmann both reached and were hit home on consecutive singles by Gabby Hawkins and Karissa Valdez.

Serena Hernandez answered for Weston Ranch with a double in the top of the sixth and scored on a Sierra fielding error.

Angelysa Washington, meanwhile, was solid in the circle, tossing a complete game with one strikeout, and displaying impressive command throughout.

“We played really well,” Cougars head coach Melanie Berezay said. “We’ve picked it up the last few games. Sierra is an awesome team; it’s always good to play my alma mater, as much as I want to win.

“(The season has) been rough, it’s been emotional, but we’re going to come back harder and stronger next year.”

Hawkins was once again sterling in the circle for Sierra, tossing a complete-game, two-hitter with 11 strikeouts.

“Probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was to tell my team before we came out that they weren’t playing for a VOL title anymore,” Olmo said. “We weren’t playing to get into the playoffs, we were just playing to win a game. It was really tough.

“They handled it better than I thought they would, but I could just see that our regular spirit, whatever you want to call it in the dugout, wasn’t there like it normally is.”

Whether or not the Timberwolves move on, Sierra’s 10 seniors did finish their careers with a postseason appearance and helped Olmo build on what has become a burgeoning program at the blue school.

“This has been an awesome group,” Olmo said. “What they’ve done the past two years has been phenomenal. We ended with the same league record (as last season), 11-3, and we did a little better overall (19-8-2).

“I told them it’s been the best season I’ve had coaching. They’re just a great group of kids.”