Turlock varsity softball knew what they were getting into when they traveled on the road to take on No. 1 seeded Sheldon High on Friday afternoon in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
Playing as the No. 9 seed, Turlock was coming off an impressive first round win over the Modesto Metro Conference Champions in Gregori, but were unable to have that same spark when they met the Section winners of the last two seasons.
Sheldon proved their seed as they managed to dominate the Bulldogs early on, tacking on two or more runs in the first three innings, essentially clinching the 13-0 win in a mercy-rule decision after the fifth.
“It's good practice. If we want to advance in playoffs, we have to go through teams like this,” said Turlock head coach Jill Ogden. “So, the girls understood that, we knew what we were up against and hoped to compete.”
At the start, Turlock was looking to get a feel for Sheldon starting pitcher Taliyah Miles, who was also a lefty peaking at around 59 miles per hour.
Two quick outs ensured a Sophie Mayol walk for the 'Dogs but then starting pitcher Shelby Frutoz got out to end the inning.
With Frutoz on the mound, Sheldon added a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first to go up 2-0 after a few miscues allowed multiple runners to get on base.
Felisha Dias of Turlock then followed with Turlock's only hit of the game, drilling a double with two outs, but no damage was done.
In the bottom of the second, Frutoz allowed the first two runners to get on base, followed by a strikeout, but then with one out, the bases were loaded for Sheldon.
Sheldon finally went up 7-0 with one out and Megan Van Ruler was subbed in for Frutoz.
“We were down with just three pitches with Shelby because her groin has been hurt in the second half of the season so we were limited in what we could throw and then she just couldn't go any longer,” said Ogden. “She gave us everything she had, she has all year, hats off to her she has done a great job.”
Frutoz finished with 1 and 1/3 inning pitched while Van Ruler tossed 1 and 2/3 innings.
Turlock also committed four errors for the game while Sheldon made none. Sheldon had nine hits to Turlock's one.
Sheldon added five runs in the third to go up by double-digits after the third inning.
“If Shelby was healthy then it would've been a much tighter game,” said Ogden.
While the loss was hard, Turlock finishes the season with much to be proud of. The Bulldogs amassed the most victories in a single season since 2009 with 16. This year was also the first season in over a decade that the 'Dogs managed to win a playoff game.
“I am so proud of this team, they have worked hard and are competitive and are great kids, real proud of the leaps that this program has made this year,” said Ogden.
Turlock finishes the year with an overall record of 16-12.