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Sierra College

Wolverines bow out in finals

By: Pete Dufour
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Once again, the Sierra College Wolverines made it to the state finals in softball, but unlike 2014, they were not able to bring the title back home to the Rocklin campus.

Losing to overall top seed Palomar 8-0 and then to NorCal top seed San Mateo 9-4 on the same day knocked Sierra out of the tournament, one day after the Wolverines beat defending champion Cypress. Host school Mt. San Antonio College won the championship, beating Palomar. Sierra fell apart defensively against Palomar and was shut out, 8-0. The Wolverines bounced back to take a 3-0 lead against San Mateo, but the Bulldogs scored four runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh to take a 9-3 lead. The Wolverines scratched a run across in the bottom of the seventh, but their 38-9 season came to an end.

Sierra’s All-State pitcher Amaryssa Medina was named to the all-tourney team. She finished the season with a 26-5 record, averaging seven strikeouts per game. Teams batted just .160 against her. Sierra’s hitters tied for the second best batting average in the state. Medina also raised her season batting average during the tournament to .423.

“This was the 43rd softball team in Sierra history, and every player who has ever put on a Sierra uniform can be proud of their accomplishments,” said coach Darci Brownell. “‘The Dirty Dozen’ won the Big 8 championship, won Regionals and Sections, and we made great memories.”

Sierra swept every game against its Sacramento area rivals, with a 12-0 record, and had put together a 16-game winning streak before the final day of the season.

The remarkable season, Brownell’s 19th with the Cardinal and White, was accomplished with a roster that included mostly freshmen. It’s hard not to take a peek at next year with all the returning talent. Along with Medina, Holly Brennan returns to the circle, and Big 8 MVP Toni Whipkey (All-State) is back at catcher. Sierra’s middle infield combo of shortstop Virgie Robello and second baseman Lexi DeLozier returns. DeLozier hit .407 on the year. Outfielder Emily Smith (All Nor-Cal), also a freshman, hit .390. First baseman Julia Cummings and versatile utility player Nina Vallejos also return.

Brownell says goodbye to a talented crop of sophomores, including third baseman and pitcher Hannah Slaight. McKenna Anderson (All-American, All-State, .406 batting average) will be playing college ball either in Montana or Colorado. Catcher Layni DeMarte moves on to Kansas Wesleyan, and center fielder Dani Toschi will play at Azusa Pacific.