Casa Roble, which moves to the top of The Bee's softball rankings, knows how to win the close ones.
The Rams' 1-0 win Friday over Bella Vista in nine innings was their fourth consecutive Capital Valley Conference victory by one run in extra innings.
Casa Roble senior pitcher Kaitlyn Garcia homered and allowed five hits in the victory.
The Rams, winners of nine in a row, have a one-game lead over No. 11 Christian Brothers in conference play.
Last Wednesday, the Rams beat No. 13 Del Campo 6-5 in eight innings as senior Ali Aguilar doubled in her sister, freshman Sami, with the winning run.
April 19, Casa Roble beat No. 19 Oakmont 4-3 in eight innings when Ali Aguilar scored from second base on a throwing error by the Vikings after a McKenzie Kenobbie bunt.
Garcia had another game-winning RBI when she doubled home junior Krystal Aubert to beat Christian Brothers 2-1 in eight innings April 17.
"I'd rather not have so much drama," said Casa Roble coach Ken Kenobbie, McKenzie's father. "(The players) don't panic when the games are so tight. But I'm panicking."
Kenobbie said freshman catcher Mya Reynolds summed up best his players' attitudes after a key hit in a recent game.
"She comes running up to me and says, 'I guess I love pressure,' " Kenobbie said.
Garcia is having another remarkable season. She's 18-4, having pitched all 142 innings for the Rams this season as she has done the previous two years.
Garcia (.365, 20 RBIs), Ali Aguilar (.479, 21), Aubert (.344, 19) and Kayla Marderos (.339, 19) supply the power. They have combined for 36 extra-base hits, including 12 home runs.
Casa Roble plays at Rio Linda today, then hosts Christian Brothers on Friday.
"This league is so tough," coach Kenobbie said. "You expect every time you go out there that it's going to be a one-run battle."
Playoffs, playoffs? Don't expect the Delta River League playoff teams to be decided until next Tuesday's final round of games.
Entering this week's play, No. 6 Oak Ridge, No. 7 Pleasant Grove and No. 8 St. Francis were tied for first with 5-2 records. No. 9 Sheldon was a game behind at 4-3.
While the three Delta River playoff teams remain up in the air, the three Sierra Foothill League playoff representatives are already in the books.
Second-ranked Roseville, No. 3 Woodcreek and No. 4 Rocklin have all qualified for the postseason. The only uncertainty is what order they will finish.
Defending league champion Del Oro was eliminated from playoff contention with losses last week to Woodcreek and Rocklin.
Titans on top Behind big performances from junior Ashleigh Hughes and sophomores Emily Mark and Kaone Hunter, No. 20 Antelope took the lead in the Capital Athletic League on Friday with an 11-4 win over defending league champion and No. 10 Whitney.
Hughes, an Alabama verbal commit and last year's league MVP, had three hits and scored four runs; Mark went 5 for 5 with six RBIs; and Hunter had four hits and tossed a two-hitter.
Rallying Bruins With a new coach and largely new lineup, defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champion Bear River began the season 1-6 under Jason Bohrer.
But after beating Foothill 16-0 on Thursday, the Bruins were 10-8 overall and 7-0 in the Pioneer Valley League.
Junior Rachel Last (.558, 14 RBIs), one of only two returnees from last season's senior-dominated team, is the top hitter, while freshman pitcher Nerissa Long has been intriguing.
Long, who no-hit Foothill, has an impressive 191 strikeouts in 100 innings. But she has walked 88, more than twice as many as she has allowed hits (43).
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.