NCS softball: St. Vincent repeats as best in Division 5

By MATT MORRISON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

NOVATO — A fast start built all the momentum the St. Vincent de Paul softball team needed Saturday to coast home with a second consecutive NCS Division 5 championship.

The Mustangs bolted out of the gate with five runs in each of the first two innings on the way to a 14-4 mercy rule victory in five innings against St. Bernard’s of Eureka in the championship game at San Marin High School.

Cleanup hitter Hannah Upton’s three-run double in the bottom of the first ignited the scoring as St. Vincent batted around the order in the first and second innings. Center fielder Rainey Henry added a 2-run double in the first and another RBI double in the second to fuel the hit parade.

“We knew when we got into this we could hit,” said Mustangs ead coach Don Jensen. “It starts with Morgan Selmi leading off. She is such a threat. And then Hannah just sitting in the middle there, just driving the ball. And then, Rainey Henry coming up and doing what she did. That was outstanding.”

Sophomore pitcher Hannah Sarlette started and went the distance for the Mustangs, allowing four runs on eight hits. She walked three and did not record a strike out.

Sarlette admitted pitching with a 10-run lead put her at ease, although St. Bernard’s stirred things up a little, scoring two runs in both the third and fourth innings.

“It’s a lot more comfortable because I know we have that cushion,” said Sarlatte.

“My team always has my back and I always know they’re going to be there. It feels really good.”

St. Vincent scored a run in the third when Sarlatte walked and eventually scored on Upton’s smash grounder toward left field.

Crusaders shortstop Tita Tanuvasa made a great play to get Upton at first. The Mustangs added a run in the fourth when Henry led off the inning with a walk and later came home on a single by sophomore Izzy Velez.

With the score 12-4 going into the bottom of the fifth, shortstop Ursyla Baumgarten led off with a double before Upton drove her home with a shot to the base of the wall in left field. Her run-scoring triple was part of Upton’s 2-for-4, 5-RBI afternoon.

Alexis Torres stepped up next and put an end to the game with a sharp single to left, scoring Upton with the clinching run.

“In season, we won a lot of games in the first five innings, but to do it in the championship game, that makes it even better,” said Upton. “It was exciting.”

“Inside of me I knew we could do it, but I’m a pessimist,” said Jensen about the prospects of repeating as NCS champions. “You always think ‘this team we’re playing is going to be really good.’”

The head coach paused as the second straight title sunk in and finished, “Again, same as last year, scored a lot of runs in all three playoff games, and good results!”

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