Before the 2014 season no athletic team in Delhi High School’s history had even made a section championship, let alone win one, but on Saturday the Hawks softball team made their mark by becoming the first sports squad to reach the big game.
However they came up short by just one run against Mariposa, 4-3.
The Southern Athletic League champions Waterford (12-2) were coming in as the heavy favorites in the semifinal game, but with the help of junior’s Alyssa Stockton and Briana Lopez’s two-run home run, the Hawks cruised over the Wildcats 2-1 and into the big show later that evening.
The Hawks met the Grizzlies of Mariposa for the third time this season in the finale for the Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin section championship with the second (Mariposa) and third (Delhi) place teams in the SAL squaring off once more.
Again the Grizzlies managed to come away with a victory despite their four errors after a three-run fifth inning. That fifth inning led to the eventual game winning run after an RBI blooper to right field.
“It was a goal to reach the title game and they finally made it,” Delhi head coach Tami Tela said. “I think the emotion was so great beating Waterford going into the finale that it was a little overwhelming, the nerves got to them even though the girls played a great game. It was an exciting memory for them.”
The contest against Waterford was a slow start for both offenses as nobody scored a run until the top of the fifth when Waterford’s Ashley Miller drove in Morgan Rodriguez.
Delhi had only nine players for both games, but still managed to play as a cohesive group anchored by Stockton.
Stockton had an impressive 18 strikeouts in seven innings, allowing four hits and one earned run as she picked up the win and kept the Wildcats hitters on their toes.
“Alyssa killed it. Her rise ball was off the hook and she was throwing her hardest at 60-61 mph, consistently. Her curve and rise were just amazing,” said Tela. “I think she threw her hardest in the seventh inning.”
In the bottom of the sixth, Lopez would slam her two-run shot over the center field wall and Stockton would strike out three of four batters faced in the closing inning.
“I said do or die and leave it out on the table and they gave it their all,” Tela said. “That homer from Bri went on and that lifted the offensive spirit.”
That thrill lifted the Hawks in the second game to take a 3-1 lead against Mariposa heading into the top of the fifth inning, just before the Grizzlies would strike for their glory.
With two outs, the score was 3-3 with runners in third and first but the blooper single just hit a perfect gap as the ball went past the right fielder and the Hawks found themselves down 4-3.
Mariposa’s Leah Lafata would toss up seven innings and allowed only three runs with seven strikeouts to help lead her squad.
“It was a great game, no errors. It wasn’t just Aly, it was the entire team. We’re not a high scoring team, we put the ball in the air,” Tela said. “They [Mariposa] came out and gave it their all. Their sportsmanship was incredible. I don’t mind losing if that is the way. They were great. We made some hits and outstanding plays, they made great hits.”
The Hawks end their 2014 season with a 14-11 record.