Woodcreek softball coach Art Banks thought it was fortuitous his team opened the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs Friday with the late game.
Shortly before the Timberwolves met Kennedy, they watched as unheralded Christian Brothers shocked Del Oro 8-3, ousting the Golden Eagles from the playoffs.
Del Oro was one of the tournament favorites and had won the Sierra Foothill League by beating Woodcreek (25-4) three times.
"We definitely would have liked to play them again and avenge our losses, but they played flat and ran into a buzz saw," Banks said. "We were fortunate to play the second game. We looked up and told the girls, 'Check out the score. You don't want that to happen to you.' "
Woodcreek beat Kennedy 3-0, topped defending D-II section champion Casa Roble 7-2 Saturday, and then defeated Del Campo 8-4 tonight to move into Wednesday's 5 p.m. championship game.
The Timberwolves will play Del Campo (16-8-1) again and will have to be beaten twice.
The Cougars upset Capital Valley Conference rival Casa Roble 3-2 in eight innings in late losers' bracket game.
Woodcreek, which won back-to-back section titles in 2004 and 2005, last appeared in a final in 2008, before any of the current Timberwolves were in the program.
Banks looks at this bunch as truly blue collar
"Our girls have been fighters, real scrappers all year long," Banks said.
Against Del Campo, the Timberwolves ran the bases aggressively, banged out 11 hits - including three each by sophomore right fielder Jenna Curtan and junior pitcher Amanda Horbasch - and made some impressive defensive plays at key times.
Woodcreek did get a scare in the fourth inning when Horbasch sprained her right ankle swinging at a pitch. But assistant coach Nicole Wallace quickly wrapped Horbasch's ankle, and she battled the rest of the way.
"There was some pain initially," Horbasch said. "But after walking, wrapping and icing it, it did fine."
In other playoff highlights:
Sheldon advanced to Wednesday's D-I title game with an 18-1, five-inning pounding of West of Tracy. Zamari Hinton led the Huskies' 19-hit attack with four hits. Sheldon will play Delta River League rival Ponderosa for the title. The Bruins defeated Elk Grove 9-1 and West 5-3 in losers' bracket games as Giana Bilotta had eight RBIs and homered in both games.
Megan Wantz scattered seven hits and singled in the winning run in the top of the eighth in Del Campo's 3-2 win over Casa Roble. Earlier, Casa Roble eliminated Christian Brothers 7-4 as Krystal Aubert went 3 for 3 with a homer, double and five RBIs.
Taylor Cotton overcame four walks and three hit batters by striking out 10 and allowing one hit in Whitney's 2-1 D-III losers' bracket win over Benicia. Whitney meets Bear River at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the D-III final, with Bear River having to be beaten twice.