STOCKTON — Sierra High faced a familiar foe Friday in Kimball.
The Timberwolves took care of their Valley Oak League rival in five innings, 13-3, advancing to the semifinal round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs at Arnaiz Field.
They’ll face No. 4 Rosemont — which upended top-seeded Calaveras, 11-4 — at 5 p.m. on Monday.
No. 2 seed Sierra (17-4) had some trouble against the Jaguars, who held a 3-1 lead through four innings.
“I don’t like playing the same team more than twice,” said Timberwolves coach Vic DeAnda, whose swept Kimball in league play.
The reason for that, he added, was the opponent becomes better acquainted with his team’s various tendencies.
Sierra, meanwhile, wasn’t quite familiar with starting pitcher Savannah Rogers, who was filling in for ace Giselle Mendez — she was on her senior grad night outing.
“It took us three or four innings to catch up with (Rogers’) timing,” DeAnda said.
His team got off to a good start, with the top of the order — namely, Mia Guevara, Lindsey Walljasper, Samantha Lorge, and Callie Crain — stringing together consecutive hits.
Lorge plated Guevara with a single to right and Crain scored on a base hit by Lisette Mejias, who was just warming up — more on that.
The Timberwolves had an uncharacteristic third inning, surrendering three runs on two hits, a walk, a hit batsman, and multiple errors.
“Our thing is defense,” Deanda said. “We didn’t did do that too well.
“It was an ugly inning.”
Kimball (12-12-1), at No. 6, had got to this point of the playoffs by beating No. 11 Orestimba and upsetting No. 3 Liberty Ranch.
After Gaby McDonald scored on a pair of throwing errors, the Jaguars added two more on Leah Richardson’s RBI single and another series of Sierra miscues.
The Timberwolves, behind the pitching of Walljasper, regrouped soon after.
A pair of sophomores took over from there.
Sierra loaded the bases in the fourth.
Tierra Solario, who got the five-run rally by reaching base on an infield error, and Guevara and Walljasper got on via hit batsman and walk, respectively.
After Solario tied the game by scoring on an error, sophomore third baseman Nicole Gardner delivered the big blast with a bases clearing triple to right field.
“I knew the situation. I just tried to stay focused at the plate and find a pitch I can drive in the gap,” she said.
An inning later, Gardner and fellow sophomore, second baseman Mejias, both had a hand in finally disposing of Kimball.
Ahead 7-3, the Timberwolves strung together six runs in the fifth, in turn, enforcing the 10-run mercy rule.
Gardner delivered a run-scoring double while Mejias followed that up with a two-run double.
“I had been struggling at the plate,” said Mejias, who went 3 for 4 with four RBI.
Gardner also went 3 for 4 with four RBI.
“They’re both second-year varsity players,” said Deanda of Gardner and Mejias. “They really stepped up for us today.”
In addition, Desiree Mejias had a double and Elizabeth Kehle delivered the game-ending RBI single.