MANTECA Sonora High School's softball team flirted with a big Valley Oak League upset yesterday before falling 6-1 to East Union.
The Wildcats (4-13, 2-4 VOL) took a 1-0 lead over the mighty Lancers (19-2-1, 8-0) into the bottom of the fifth inning. East Union tied it on a sacrifice fly by Amanda Brady, then took the lead on a play that got Sonora coach Nick Parry hot under the collar.
Amanda Vickers singled and Rosa Ruiz headed home from second base with the go-ahead run. Sonora center fielder Ashley Romeo threw a strike to the plate and appeared to nail Ruiz and keep the game tied. However, Ruiz was called safe.
According to Parry, Ruiz should have been called out for any one of three reasons:
1. She was tagged by Sonora catcher Margaret Hemphill.
2. Ruiz didn't touch home plate.
3. She lowered her shoulder and barreled into Hemphill, a no-no in high school softball.
Parry lost his argument, and East Union went on to score two more runs in the fifth for an insurmountable 4-1 lead with ace Brittney Tachara doing the pitching.
"It would have been huge for us to beat East Union, and we were right with them," Parry said, noting that the Lancers are going for their sixth straight VOL championship. "That play just took the game away from us."
Sonora took its lead in the top of the fourth when Jenna Diede reached on an error, took second on a sacrifice by Kari Martinez and scored on a two-out, hit-and-run single to right by Rachel Wolfe.
A hit-and-run with two outs and a runner in scoring position?
"The count was 2-0, so I figured (Tachara) was going to throw a strike, and I knew Rachel would get her bat on the ball," Parry said. "We didn't have anything to lose, and it just felt like the right thing to to."
Martinez pitched for Sonora, allowing seven hits. Tachara struck out 12 for East Union, but was touched for two hits by the Wildcats' Vanessa Clark.