Home News Amador Valley ends St. Francis’ perfect season

Amador Valley ends St. Francis’ perfect season


MOUNTAIN VIEW — Amador Valley, with 11 losses on the season, went on the road and pulled off a huge upset, handing No. 1 seed St. Francis, the top-ranked team in the state, its first loss of the season Tuesday, 4-1, in the opening round of the Northern California Division I softball playoffs.

Nobody expected this result.

“Not even us,” winning pitcher Kaylee Davis said, with a laugh. “We just wanted to give them a good game. Honestly we didn’t think we could do it. I’m just super excited and so proud of my team.”

Davis played the singularly, most instrumental, role in the upset. She pitched a five-hitter, walked five and struck out six to improve to 16-4 on the season. She was at her best with runners on base, using her rise ball to induce popups and fly outs, and to strand eight runners 

In the first inning she struck out the side with runners on second and third. And in the seventh inning St. Francis loaded the bases with two out and brought the go-ahead run to the plate. Davis calmly served up a game-ending ground out.

“Today I had my confidence,” Davis said. “I knew I had to work in the zone, work all my pitches and be very disciplined and give my all every single time.”

St. Francis (28-1) had not been tested very often this season, but certainly was on this occasion. Lancers coach Mike Oakland went with Shannon Keighran (13-0 on the season prior to Tuesday) as his starting pitcher. Amador took the lead with a run in the top of the second when Davis doubled home Lauren Tran. 

The visitors made it 4-0 with a three-run third. Leadoff batter Riya Sherda led off with a single and advanced to third on a wild pitch and stolen base. Keighran retired the next two batters before issuing an intentional walk to cleanup batter Mai Falcone.

Taylor Oxe singled to left to bring in a run. Keighran struck out the next batter, but the third strike eluded the catcher and the batter reached first base safely to load the bases 

Tran singled in a run and Oakland made a pitching change, bringing in Kate Munnerlyn (15-0) to pitch to Davis, who greeted her with a single to make it 4-0.

Munnerlyn settled down after, and she allowed only one base runner over the final four innings and retired the last 10 batters faced in a row. 

But the proverbial horse was already out of the barn.

The Lancers scored a run in the bottom of the third on back-to-back doubles by Isabella Sandoval and Maya Yumiba. But that was it for the normally robust St. Francis offense.

Amador Valley was 12-11 before defeating Heritage in its regular-season finale. The Dons then went 3-0 to win the North Coast Section Division I title. Now it’s a five-game winning streak.

“Our game plan since the end of the regular season was approaching, our mindset, the girls were completely dialed in,” Amador Valley coach Courtney Hennings said. “They play for each other, they take it one pitch at a time. Can’t do it without Kaylee. She’s totally commanding the mound, shutting the batters down one at a time. A big help is the defense behind her.”

Emmerson Giles, Tran and Davis had two hits apiece for Amador Valley. Giles’ two hits were both doubles. Sandoval had two hits for St. Francis.

St. Francis was coming off a 7-2 win over Archbishop Mitty in the Central Coast Section Open Division championship game.

“It’s always tough to go from such an emotional thing as the CCS championship game against your rival and then two days later get your mind in the right spot for a tournament like this,” Oakland said. “No excuses. They came out and beat us.”

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