Home World Amador Valley’s defense stifles No. 1 California in D-I semifinals

Amador Valley’s defense stifles No. 1 California in D-I semifinals


SAN RAMON — No team knew California, the reigning North Coast Section Division I champions, better than Amador Valley. 

Having beaten the Grizzlies two out of three times coming into Wednesday’s NCS Division I semifinal, the Dons knew exactly what they needed to do to beat Cal. 

Amador Valley used that experience to beat the Grizzlies 6-1 in dominating fashion to advance to the NCS title game where the Dons will play College Park on Saturday at Diablo Valley College. 

“The girls knew the adjustment that they had to make,” said Amador Valley coach Courtney Hennings. “We worked on it all week. It was about executing small ball, taking it one pitch at a time and moving the runners. Kaylee Davis really shut it down on the mound and the girls behind her picked her up with great plays.”

Davis pitched a complete game, allowing just four hits while striking out three. 

Riya Sharda had two hits and two RBIs. Mai Falcone had a triple and an RBI. 

The experience both teams had of playing each other earlier in the season was evident early. 

Cal pitcher Kaitlyn Li didn’t allow a hit and recorded a walk in her first four innings pitched. 

Davis was just as dominant through four, allowing two hits while not allowing a Cal player to cross home plate. 

But after a quiet start to the game, Amador’s bats came alive in the fifth inning. 

Lauren Tran singled to center field, bringing home Madison Notari from second to put the first run of the game on the board for the Dons. Later in the inning, Sharda hit a strong liner toward shortstop that scored Tran and Sarah Candland which gave Amador a 3-0 advantage in the top of the fifth inning. 

In the sixth, the Dons took a four-run advantage after Falcone’s triple knocked in McKenna Charbonneau. In the next at-bat, Davis scored Falcone on a ground out to give Amador its biggest lead of the night at 5-0. 

“I think we really just built off our runs,” Davis said. “We had to bring our energy back up, we were kind of falling down. We just built off our hits and we went up from there.”

Jayda Crosby knocked in Cal’s first run of the game on a sacrifice fly that brought home Kirsten Li, but it was too late at that point. 

Amador scored another run in the top of the seventh and Davis retired three of Cal’s final four batters to end the game. 

Cal’s quest to become the first team to win back-to-back Division I championships since Amador Valley did it in 2014-15 fell short, but Grizzlies’ coach Tony Bari said he was proud of the way his group competed all year. 

“The goal was to try to repeat, which we know is nearly impossible to do,” he said. “We got awfully close. Sometimes a play here or there just takes the game away and that’s kind of what happened today. I could not be more proud of this group of girls and I can’t wait to come back with them next season.”

Amador Valley’s road to the NCS title game wasn’t an easy one. 

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