The Sheldon High School softball players decided it was time to flush away the bad karma - figuratively and literally.
The Huskies had been through a brutally tough season.
They lost their last game of the regular season and backed into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs as the Delta River League's No. 3 seed. They survived a tough 5-3 outbracket win at Tracy on May 15.
So Friday, the players gathered for an impromptu meeting midway through practice.
Each player wrote on a few sheets of toilet tissue all their woes from the season. Then they flushed the collective misery down the toilet.
"Each player wrote down things that didn't go their way or the team's way," said Sheldon senior pitcher Alexis Cooper. "I think that really worked for us. It really flushed all the bad stuff that happened to us. It allowed us to move forward and to focus on the positives."
And are the defending D-I section champions moving forward.
In their three playoff games since the team "cleansing," the Huskies have banged out 51 hits and outscored their opponents 44-4.
Their latest victim was Elk Grove in Monday's winners' bracket game at the Sacramento Softball Complex.
Sheldon scored six runs on nine hits in the first inning to coast to a 10-2 win over the Thundering Herd. The Huskies play West of Tracy, a 4-2 winner over St. Mary's of Stockton, at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Cooper scattered four hits and didn't allow four errors to distract her. She helped her cause with a double, RBI single and sacrifice bunt. Erika Lane, Danielle Wiltz, Zamari Hinton, MeShalon Moore and Amber Glenn all had two-hit nights.
Although Sheldon struggled to make the playoffs, coach Mary Jo Truesdale believes it has only made her team stronger for the postseason.
"I told the girls it's time to let everything go from the past season and play Sheldon softball," she said.
Cooper, headed to Arizona State, has worked hard to keep the troops together.
When sophomore shortstop Anessa Kaylor made two errors, one of which led to Elk Grove's two runs in the fourth, there were no hard stares from Cooper or the other Huskies, only words of encouragement.
"She's young and that's going to happen because it's a big game," Cooper said. "You aren't going to get anything from being negative. You are going to have more success if you focus on what you can do instead of what you didn't do."
In other Monday highlights:
Elk Grove kept its hopes alive by beating Davis 8-7 in the losers' bracket. Amber Wright had three hits, Carlee Gray two doubles and Elk Grove scored what proved to be the winning run in the sixth inning on singles by Katilin Pires, Victoria Saborio and Alycia Fields. Haley Cameron had four hits for Davis, including two doubles, and also hit a three-run homer earlier to help the Blue Devils beat Enochs 3-2. Elk Grove plays Ponderosa at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Skye Jerpbak homered, doubled, singled and drove in three runs in Ponderosa's 10-4 D-I win over St. Mary's after Taylor Doane's walk-off RBI single gave the Bruins a 4-3, nine-inning victory over Tokay.
Cambria Holcomb's RBI single and Jen Astwood's two-run single led Bear River to a 4-1 win over Benicia in the D-III winners' bracket game. Bear River advanced to Wednesday's championship game the winner of Tuesday's Benicia-Whitney game.
Taylor Cotton struck out 13 and allowed five hits; Kayli Shaw had a triple and two singles; and Darian Harris went three-for-four in Whitney's 7-2 win over Vanden.