From AUBURN JOURNAL SPORTS
Placer’s softball team made a statement on Wednesday.The Hillgals played toe-to-toe with a powerful Lincoln squad that had rolled through its competition this season and came away with a 3-0 victory in Auburn, and in so doing served notice to the rest of the Pioneer Valley League: This team could be dangerous.“I’ll be honest: Going in, I just wanted to keep it close,” coach Aaron Rubio said. “Lincoln is tough. The girls came out and performed like they’ve been practicing.”
It started with Bethany Thornton, who went the distance, allowing just two hits and one walk and striking out three. The defense behind her was sharp; the Hillgals committed just one error behind her.“She told me during warmups today, “Coach, I feel really good today,’” Rubio said.She then went out and pounded the strike zone early, throwing first-pitch strikes to more than 90 percent of the batters.“It’s such a difference,” Rubio said, “when you’re able to stay ahead and make them hit your pitches rather than having to come over the plate.”The teams were locked in a pitchers’ duel into the bottom of the fourth inning, when Emily Geil came up and crushed one out of the park.Given that edge, Thornton stayed sharp, shutting down an offense that had produced 110 runs in 12 games.The Hillgals rewarded her with timely hitting in the bottom of the sixth to give her some insurance.Geil was at the center of that, as well, singling home Zoey Lykins. Raven Lewis, who hits fourth in the lineup and is known for her power, saw Lincoln’s infield playing back and laid down a perfect bunt for a single. Geil later stole third and scored on an errant throw to give Placer the 3-0 advantage. With the win, Placer (5-8 overall) improved to 2-0 in the PVL and secured a precious game advantage over Lincoln, which came into the game with a 10-2 overall record.“Now the girls have seen what we have been telling them, that they can play like that,” Rubio said. “That’s what we expect, that they can go out against a real good-caliber team like Lincoln and get a victory. Hopefully, they’ll buy in a little more and see the results, and hopefully we’ll build on it.”
Placer will play powerhouse Woodcreek at Sacramento Softball complex this Friday at 1:00.