Seventh-ranked Whitney had a strong performance to reach the championship flight at the 16th annual Livermore Stampede over the weekend.
The Wildcats beat No. 9 Pleasant Grove 2-0, No. 13 Sheldon 10-3, Heritage of Brentwood 7-1 and, for third place, Danville's Monte Vista 4-3.
The only loss came in the semifinals, 6-2 to eventual champion and nationally ranked (No. 10 by Maxpreps.com) Archbishop Mitty of San Jose. Freshman Shelby Miller had Whitney's only hit against the Monarchs a two-run homer to tie the score 2-2 in the fifth inning.
Last Thursday's win over Sheldon was the Wildcats' second in as many days against the two-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion.
Thanks to a sterling debut by junior first baseman Madi Galuszka who had to sit out the first 30 days of the season after transferring from Del Oro visiting Whitney beat the Huskies 5-1 in a nonleague game April 2. The 6-foot Galuszka had a home run, double and three RBIs to back Taylor Cotton's two-hitter.
"She's going to help us a lot," said Whitney coach April Steele before Galuszka played her first game. "She's already (verbally committed) to Loyola Marymount. She brings a lot of positive energy."
Whitney, however, didn't get a nice welcome home to Placer County on Monday.
Sixth-ranked Roseville topped the Wildcats 13-8 in a nonleague game as Kayla Fields picked up the win and also had a home run and three RBIs.
Game changer This season is a little bittersweet for veteran St. Francis coach Al LoGiudice.
His daughter, Alexa, decided not to play softball her junior season for the No. 5 Troubadours, opting instead to focus on volleyball.
Last fall, Alexa was a defensive specialist for the 38-3 St. Francis volleyball team that won Sac-Joaquin Section and CIF Northern Regional championships before falling in the Division I state final to Marymount of Los Angeles.
Alexa was a River Park Little League All-Star for several seasons, a career her father says was capped at age 13 with a home run in her final game.
But Alexa had surgery on her left shoulder in the eighth grade and that, her dad says, played a factor in her decision to focus on volleyball after playing two seasons of junior varsity softball.
"It's been tough," Al LoGiudice said. "She came out to our game the other day, and it just seemed strange to look up and see her sitting in the stands. She's been in the dugout with me since she was 3 years old."
Iron women Casa Roble's Kaitlyn Garcia continues her workhorse pitching role this season. The junior has pitched all 97 innings for the No. 4 Rams.
She pitched 132 innings last season and threw all 163 innings as a sophomore.
Garcia will battle another prolific pitcher today in Bella Vista's Jordan Becker. A senior, Becker has pitched all but 4 2/3 of the team's 268 innings in the past two seasons for the No. 20 Broncos.
Thunderous hit Top-ranked Rocklin remained unbeaten in the Sierra Foothill League in the most dramatic way.
Junior Delanie Chrisman hit a two-out, bottom-of-the-seventh, walk-off grand slam to beat Granite Bay 5-3 last Wednesday.
Rocklin hosts No. 10 Del Oro, the defending league champion, today.
Rosemont cools Titans Burbank came into Thursday's Metro Conference first-place showdown against defending champion Rosemont hitting a sizzling .476. Rosemont sophomore Alexandra Pudlo cooled the Titans' batters with a six-inning, 10-0 no-hitter.
Janessa Rocha and Daniela Medina combined for six hits and seven RBIs as Rosemont climbed to 5-0 in league. Burbank is 4-1.
Dubious streak ends No. 2 Woodcreek ended its four-game losing streak from last weekend's Michelle Carew Classic tournament in Anaheim by returning to SFL play Monday and beating Del Oro 1-0 behind freshman Jacy Boles' four-hitter.
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.