While Sheldon High School had a rollar coaster regular season and barely slipped into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I softball playoffs, the Huskies didn't waste any time today in letting folks know they plan a rigorous title defense.
The Huskies combined for five home runs and 37 hits in beating Pitman of Modesto 16-1 and Tokay of Lodi 18-1 in mercy-rule-shortened five-inning games in today's opening rounds at the Sacramento Softball Complex.
Alexis Cooper hit home runs in both games and was three-for-three against Tokay; Nikki Miles had six hits in seven at bats; and MeShalon Moore had five doubles.
The wins move Sheldon into Monday's 5 p.m. winner's bracket game against rival Elk Grove, the team the Huskies beat in last season's D-I championship game.
Elk Grove, despite starting six underclass players, defeated Lincoln of Stockton 3-0 and Ponderosa 8-4. Sophomore Serena Sandhu, elevated from the JV team late in the season by coach Jeff Alexander, had a two-run homer against Lincoln and two of the Thundering Herd's 14 hits against Ponderosa.
West of Tracy will play St. Mary's of Stockton in Monday's other winner's bracket game. West knocked Pleasant Grove out of the playoffs with a 5-3 win in the single-elimination opening round.
In Monday loser's bracket games, Ponderosa plays Tokay and Davis faces Enochs. Davis edged Bear Creek of Stockton 12-11 before falling 9-1 to West. Ponderosa, behind Paris Hallums' one-hitter, beat Vacaville 4-0 before losing to Elk Grove.
In Division II, Woodcreek will meet Del Campo in a 4 p.m. winner's bracket game on Tuesday.
Woodcreek defeated defending D-II champion Casa Roble 7-2 while Del Campo edged Christian Brothers 6-5. CBS plays Casa Roble in a loser's bracket game 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Bear River remains unbeaten in Division III after rallying for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to top Vanden 7-6 in eight innings.
Vanden had scored two runs in the top of the eighth to take a 6-4 lead. Erin Nichol went four-for-four and Ali Thill three-for-three for Bear River, which will play Benicia in a 6 p.m. winner's bracket game Monday. Benicia defeated Whitney today.
Meanwhile, lower-division championships were decided today in Stockton.
Oakdale beat Sierra 3-1 in D-IV; Hughson beat Argonaut 1-0 in D-V; Mariposa beat Le Grand 9-3 in D-VI; and Elliot Christian of Lodi bettered Millennium of Tracy 8-1 in D-VII.