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High school softball: Parity provides challenging week for ranked teams

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2C

There appears to be plenty of parity among area softball teams this season.

Fifteen teams in The Bee's first Top 20 rankings last week have suffered at least one loss since.

Among them was then-nationally ranked and Bee top-ranked Woodcreek, which lost 7-0 to then-No. 12 Roseville last Wednesday. Woodcreek had allowed only three runs through its first nine games.

The next day, Roseville beat then-No. 5 Del Oro and its ace Jordan Courage 12-3. Del Oro is the defending Sierra Foothill League champion.

Roseville coach Jennifer Birch's young team – three of the 12 players are seniors – hammered out 26 hits against two of the section's top teams.

But proving Roseville isn't invincible, either – and that the Sierra Foothill League is top-to-bottom dangerous – unranked Rocklin (5-7-1) and pitcher Maddie Wuelfing defeated the Tigers 5-1 on Monday.

Expect more SFL fireworks Thursday as Roseville plays host to Woodcreek at 4 p.m., weather permitting.

Roseville is hitting .379, with sophomore Taylor Brewster-McDowell (.545, 10 RBIs) and Saint Mary's signee Lollie Fitzpatrick (.452, 16 RBIs) leading the way.

Woodcreek's top slugger is senior shortstop Paige Davis (.500, nine RBIs).

Memorial tourney set – Woodcreek and Roseville both are in this weekend's Stephanie LeDoux Memorial Spring Break Tournament at Maidu Park in Roseville, but on opposite brackets.

Last year, Roseville defeated Woodcreek 1-0 in the championship game.

Six other teams ranked by The Bee – No. 5 Casa Roble, No. 6 Center, No. 9 Del Campo, No. 14 Ponderosa, No. 16 Granite Bay and No. 18 Vista del Lago – are entered in the 15-team tournament.

The tournament is played in memory of LeDoux, a starting middle infielder for Roseville's 1990 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship team and arguably the best in area history.

Delta River showdown – Second-ranked Sheldon is scheduled to play at No. 3 St. Francis on Friday in an early Delta River League showdown.

Last Friday, Sheldon opened league play with a 12-4 win over Oak Ridge. Arizona State-bound pitcher Alexis Cooper led the way for the Huskies with a home run, three hits, four RBIs and a complete-game win.

St. Francis beat Folsom 10-0 in a five-inning mercy-rule victory. Stephanie Heyward tossed a no-hitter. Bailey O'Mara homered and had four RBIs.

Both St. Francis and Sheldon will play in next week's Michelle Carew Classic in Southern California's Anaheim Hills.

Paris in the spring – Junior pitcher Paris Hallums is a good reason to keep an eye on Ponderosa.

Hallums struck out seven and pitched a two-hitter in beating then-No. 6 Pleasant Grove 6-0 in the Delta River League opener last Friday.

Hallums is 3-0 with an ERA of 0.00 and has allowed 10 hits in 21 innings for the 4-4 Bruins.

Fast start – Defending Golden Empire League champion Marysville is 8-0 behind senior pitcher Ashten Welch (8-0, 2.02 ERA) and junior infielder Tressa Arostegui (.560, 12 RBIs).

The Indians play at Capital Christian today in a GEL game, weather permitting.

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