By Trevor Horn
It's never easy being on top.
The defending Sac Joaquin Section Division I and II softball champions were both eliminated in dramatic fashion during the early morning games Saturday in the second round of the playoffs at Sacramento Softball Complex.
Woodcreek, the No. 4 ranked team by The Bee, lost to Enochs of Modesto on a controversial call in the sixth inning.
A routine pop up to second base turned into a 20-minute conversation between coaches, umpires and the tournament official.
Jordan Barber was on second base for the Eagles when the ball sailed into right field. An errant throw to third pulled Woodcreek third basemen Christal Vierra off the bag.
The umpire called interference after Barber was thrown out at home "by 40 feet" according to Woodcreek coach Art Banks.
Enochs was awarded the run, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Tournament director Don Barney said the play was dead once Vierra would not allow Barber to get up right away after sliding in third base, nullifying the tag out at home.
"I think it was the wrong call," Banks said. "They called an interference when there wasn't. And to award the run is ridiculous."
Woodcreek was the defending D-II section champions but, as a member of the Sierra Foothill League, the Timberwolves were bumped into D-I this season.
The Timberwolves got a runner on in the bottom of the seventh inning, but couldn't score.
"We didn't score and that was our fault," Banks said. "We didn't take care of our business. But you hate to have an umpire dictate the game. It's just one of those things, it happens with human beings. We make mistakes, but this was a big one. But, it happens."
Two time defending D-I champions, Sheldon, were also ousted from the playoffs in the morning game.
No. 12 ranked Sheldon tied the game up at 3-3 with two runs in the top of the seventh inning that began with an RBI single by freshman Dani Fines.
The two teams traded zeros in the box score until Fines scored on a single by Anessa Kaylor to take a 4-3 lead into the top of the 12th with the international playoff rule enforced. After 10 innings, the last batter out in the previous inning begins the next frame on second base.
West scored two runs in the bottom of the 12th to win.
More Field No. 2 Drama - Both of the Woodcreek and Sheldon games were played on Field 2 of the four field complex.
In the final afternoon game on Field 2, Benicia defeated No. 6 Christian Brothers 2-1 in eight innings.
Christian Brothers ace Haley Snyder pitched a complete game gem for the Falcons. The junior struck out 11 and gave up just five hits and two runs in the loss.
Rams Rollin' - Senoir Ali Aguilar scored the winning run for Casa Roble in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Vanden 7-6 in the D-II bracket.
No. 2 Casa Roble scored five runs in the fourth inning to take a 6-4 lead.
Vanden scored two runs in the top of the seventh to tie to game up before the celebration started for the Rams.
Aguilar had a first inning home run for the Rams (21-5) and walked to lead off the sevent. Casa Roble plays Benicia in the in the D-II semifinals at 6 p.m. on Monday.
Thunder Rollin' - Second year varsity head coach Marissa Hardy has used a heavy load of juniors this season thanks in part to her confidence in them as the junior varsity coach for the Thunder two seasons ago.
No. 1 ranked Rocklin withheld a bases loaded, one-out rally by West in the bottom of the seventh inning to advance with a 5-3 win in the afternoon game. Rocklin defeated Buhach Colony 6-1 in the morning game.
"I really thought all along that this team should be at the top, at least in the top three," Hardy said. "I think it starts with seniors. But the juniors have been huge contributors. They bought into me at the JV level, but now they are bringing to the varsity level."
Rocklin has a 10-game winning streak thanks large part to solid pitching from junior Maddie Wuelfing and great hitting from fellow juniors Sam Moffat an, Delanie Chrismas and Cali Lewis.
Rocklin will face No. 7 Elk Grove on Monday.