Lady Dragons with fourth in a row; projected amongst the top squads in SCL

The Sonoma Lady Dragons softball team, undaunted by three weeks of rain outs and postponements, took advantage of last week’s good weather to put together a pair of impressive wins over Healdsburg and Piner to run their winning streak to four in a row.

The win over Healdsburg in the SCL opener marked the Lady Dragons first game action since March 11. Sonoma showed no rust from the lengthy lay-off, pounding out 14 hits while putting 12 runs on the board over the final two innings en route to a resounding 17-3 victory.

The Lady Dragons did not rest on their laurels, downing Piner two days later in a non-league contest that saw sophomore Zoe Gaarder go the distance to pick up her first varsity win. Gaarder evened her record on the season at 1-1, striking out four and allowing only one base on balls against the Prospectors.

The Lady Dragons (4-3) faced Petaluma Tuesday in an SCL contest, with results unavailable at press time. Sonoma will host Ursuline tomorrow at the SVHS field at 4:00 pm before getting back to their league slate with games against El Molino and Analy next week.

Sophomore Kendall Ashe led the offense in the win over the Greyhounds, going three-for-five, with a pair of RBI’s. Ashley Vail also had three hits and a pair of RBI’s and Gaarder helped her cause with a pair of hits.
Also picking up hits in the league opener were Lindsey Rocha, Amber Rose, Megan McNeilly, Tali Soroker, Anna Stewart and Juliana Gutierez.

The Lady Dragons showed their versatility, winning a tight defensive battle over Piner 4-3. Sonoma scored their four runs in the first three innings, and then held on for the win behind sound defense. Ashe picked up two more hits, capping a week that saw coach Dean Merrill name her the Lady Dragon of the Week.

Rose and Gutierez helped inspire the offense with a stolen base apiece in the win.

2011 SCL Softball Preview
Petaluma: The Lady Trojans sport a gaudy .387 team batting average and put the ball in play, striking out just 10 times in 159 plate appearances through their first seven games. Sara Soares, Gina Barnacle, Nicole Wieks, Chelsea Martin and Ali Corids all have batting averages in excess of .500. Petaluma doesn’t waste their chances to score, plating nearly seven runs a game and through the first week of league play it doesn’t look like anyone in the SCL can match the Trojans offense. Soares is equally impressive on the mound, compiling a 5-0 mark with a miniscule .67 ERA. Predicted SCL record 10-2.

Sonoma Valley: The Lady Dragons can be a contender for the top spot in the SCL if they continue to get complete game efforts similar to those put forth last week. Megan McNeilly is the workhorse on the mound, hurling 30 of the Lady Dragons 44 innings pitched to-date. The team batting average popped up to .332 after the 17-run outburst against Healdsburg last week. Kendall Ashe and Mia Stornetta, the last two players to receive Lady Dragon player of the week honors, are hitting .429 and .412, respectively. Amber Rosa and Lindsey Rocha are the top run producers, picking up the team lead in runs batted in while sporting batting averages north of .475. Predicted SCL record 9-3.

Analy: The Tigers entered SCL play with just a 2-4 record, but look to be more talented than the bottom tier of the SCL pack. Despite a team batting average of just .229, the Tigers manage to keep games close, and frustrate opponents by prolonging innings, evidenced by their 220 plate appearances in seven games. That statistic breaks down to 10 base runners per game, and the pitching staff also keeps the Tigers in games, never yielding more than six runs in a single game so far this season. Nicole Ochoa leads the way on the mound, having struck out 39 in her six starts. Predicted SCL record 7-5.

Casa Grande: The Gauchos have scored just 11 runs so far this season, but look to finish in the middle of the pack in the SCL as a result of the standout pitching duo of Ashley Ludlow and Ashley Porter. The pair of “Ashleys” have combined to throw every inning for the Gauchos in 2011 and have a combined ERA of just .47. The Gauchos will need to support the dynamic duo a little better than they have done to date, where they have managed just a .204 team batting average and defensively have committed 14 errors to produce a sub-par .867 fielding percentage. Predicted SCL record 6-6.

El Molino: Much like Casa Grande, the Lions will have to improve their anemic offense (.174 team batting average) and porous defense (14 errors) to challenge the top SCL teams, but their pitching should allow them to sweep some of the cellar dwellers. Only one player, Elizabeth Callagy, has more than one RBI as of April 1, but once on base the Lions have been aggressive, stealing seven bases on 10 attempts. Catcher Kerri Rampone has a strong arm and has gunned down three base runners attempting to steal. Predicted SCL record 6-6.

Windsor: Statistically, Windsor looks like they could just as easily be 5-1 rather than their current mark of 1-4-1. A team batting average of .337, three hitters batting over .400, and speed on the base paths would look to spell success for the Jaguars. However a pitching staff that has been lit up like a Christmas tree will likely keep Windsor in the SCL cellar. The Jaguar pitching staff has struck out only four batters through six games and the team ERA is an unattractive 6.61. The Windsor hopes will have to bank on some offensive outbursts to get their wins in the 2011 season. Predicted SCL finish 3-9.

Healdsburg: The Greyhounds biggest question is not how many games they will win in 2011, but rather it will be whether they will win a game at all in 2011. Yielding 87 runs while scoring only 31 won’t strike fear into any SCL opponents, and unless a win is soon to come the campaign could spiral out of control in a hurry. Surprisingly, the Greyhounds offense is respectable, led by one of the best hitters in the Redwood Empire in Savannah Wode-Shura who is hitting .524 with 11 hits (5 RBI) and a home run. Four of the Greyhounds six losses have been by double figures. Predicted SCL finish 1-11


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