Monday, April 9, 2012
Amador Valley softball rolls to NorCal No. 1
By Harold Abend
Amador Valley won its last two games at the Livermore Stampede by combined score of 19-1.
Dons roll past Mitty and Livermore to win Livermore Stampede and will now close in on being No. 1 in the state after top-ranked Norco falls at Michelle Carew Classic.
After her performance in the 18th Annual Livermore Stampede, there’s a new queen of Northern California high school softball and her name is Johanna Grauer from Amador Valley of Pleasanton.
The championship game of the Stampede was played at 7:15 p.m. last Saturday, but to softball aficionados and for rankings purposes, the 3 p.m. semifinal between Cal-Hi Sports No. 3 Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) and No. 7 Amador Valley was the game of the day.
Grauer would go on to get the victory in a 11-0 run-rule shortened five-inning title game victory over host Livermore, but the semifinals was where she made her mark.
Although Grauer was a little shaky to start, her determination showed through. With a four-hitter and 10 strikeouts, the early Arizona State-committed sophomore right-hander posted in an 8-1 timed-out six-inning win over Mitty that punctuated the entire tournament.
“I was a little wild to start and had to calm myself down,” Grauer remarked. “I wasn’t nervous. I guess I just had a lot of adrenalin.”
Amador Valley’s impressive series of outings at the Stampede, combined with the fact that the Dons are still unbeaten this season, should jump them up to No. 2 in this week’s state rankings. No. 1 Norco lost its first game over the weekend at the Michelle Carew Classic and likely will be replaced at No. 1 by Pacifica of Garden Grove, which was No. 2 and won that tournament as impressively as Amador Valley won in Livermore.
It wasn’t just Grauer that shined for the Dons against Mitty, but two other sophomores as well – shortstop Ashley Lotoszynski and catcher Victoria Molina.
Lotoszynski had a game for the ages and against the nationally-ranked opponent. Not only did she blast a third-inning three-run home run that gave her team a 4-0 lead, she connected off Cal-bound Monarchs’ ace Vanessa Alvarez for a second three-run shot for the game’s final runs. Her line was 2-for-3 with the two long flies, six RBIs and two runs scored.
Dons’ catcher Molina was 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.
“We had the same dream last night,” said Grauer and Lotoszynski simultaneously. “That I’d hit a home run,” continued Lotoszynski.
Although Amador Valley defeated James Logan (Union City) last year in the CIF North Coast Section Division I title game, and earlier this season when Grauer threw a no-hitter, the win over Mitty puts a stamp on the program.
“We’ve been preparing ourselves for Mitty since last year. We came out and made a statement,” said fifth-year Amador Valley coach Julie Marshall, a Brentwood Liberty grad that played at UCLA.
“No one expected us to win, so it was great to not just win by a run but to dominate, and I think we dominated,” continued a beaming Marshall. “The girls came in hungry and rose to the occasion. This is absolutely the biggest win in school history.”
The importance of the win was not lost on the Dons’ pitching ace.
“We knew going into this game that with them so highly ranked, to me and the team it was bigger than the NCS and Logan,” said Grauer, who topped out in the Stampede at 66 miles per hour.
The championship game was pretty much over from the beginning. Not only did Grauer pitch a 2-hitter with 12 strikeouts in the 5-inning affair, but the Stampede’s MVP had an RBI triple and scored a run.
In the third-place game, Mitty (16-2) overcame a 2-0 first-inning deficit to take a 3-2 decision over Alhambra of Martinez (7-2).
Stampede’s top stars
Johanna Grauer (Amador Valley, Pleasanton) The Stampede MVP not only got it done in the circle but at the plate as well. In 27 innings pitched for the five games, she only gave up four runs and 11 hits while amassing 62 strikeouts. She had a 1-hitter with 14 strikeouts in a 6-inning 2-0 win that handed Brentwood Heritage its only loss of the season. In a 3-2 win over Monte Vista of Danville, she gave up a first inning 2-run home run then knuckled down to strike out 16 of the next 23 batters with 18 fanned total. As a batter for the five games combined, Grauer was 5-for-11 with two triples and RBI, three runs scored and five walks.
Vanessa Alvarez (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose)
The Cal-bound Monarchs ace opened the Stampede with a five-inning perfect game in a 10-0 win over California of San Ramon. Despite getting roughed up by Amador Valley she still finished with pretty respectable numbers in the circle and at the plate. In 29 innings pitched she gave up 11 runs and 19 hits (eight runs and nine hits against Amador Valley) with 42 strikeouts. At the plate leading off she was 10-for-18 with three doubles, two RBIs, five runs scored, a walk and three stolen bases.
Kylee Perez (Alhambra, Martinez)
The early commit to UCLA had an uncharacteristic error that hurt her team in a semifinal 3-2 loss to Livermore, but that was her only error of the tournament and for the most part the Bulldogs leadoff hitter had a hot bat. She finished 9-for-15 with three doubles, three RBIs, six runs scored, three walks and three steals.
Jazmyn Jackson (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose)
The speedy sophomore shortstop was 10-for-17 with two doubles, five RBIs, six runs scored and four stolen bases.
Victoria Molina (Amador Valley, Pleasanton)
Besides doing a sparkling job behind the plate, the Dons sophomore catcher was 9-for-14 with three doubles, two RBIs, seven runs scored, two walks and two stolen bases.
Ashley Lotoszynski (Amador Valley, Pleasanton)
Including the huge game against Mitty the Dons sophomore shortstop was 5-for-11 with two home runs, nine RBIs, four runs scored, three walks and she was hit twice. She also had no fielding errors.