By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Rancho Cotate blasted three home runs, including a grand slam by junior Katie Rohrer, as the Cougars advanced to the North Bay League championship game with a 10-3 victory against visiting Montgomery on Tuesday.
Rancho will meet Ukiah for the trophy on Thursday at Santa Rosa High. The Wildcats defeated Maria Carrillo 7-0 in the other first round game.
Rohrer’s home run came in the sixth inning and was her seventh of the season. Her drive cleared the fence in right center field.
“I knew it was gone when I hit it,” said Rohrer, who leads the NBL in home runs. “It was an inside pitch and I made solid contact.”
Taylor Del Santo collected the Cougars’ other two home runs. One came in the second and the other in the sixth.
The score was 3-3 when Rancho erupted for seven runs in the sixth.
“We had our chances in the early innings but couldn’t come up with the big hit,” coach Tracey Poueu-Guerrero said. “I think we left 10 runners on base before we had that big sixth inning.”
While winning its seventh game in a row, Rancho collected 15 hits. Del Santo went 4 for 5, Alexis Gumanday finished 3 for 5 and Rohrer was 2 for 3.
Pitcher Brittney Scardina went the distance and gave up seven hits.
Freshman Anna Zoia-Buescher, who took the loss for Montgomery, led the Vikings offense with a pair of hits.
UKIAH 7, MARIA CARRILLO 0
At Ukiah, the league regular season champs won their 17th consecutive game.
“It was the best game we’ve played in weeks,” coach Gary Venturi said. “We always tell the girls the three keys to a game are pitching, hitting and defense. We won all three of those categories.”
Ukiah put two runs on the scoreboard in the third and added five more in the fourth.
Anna Brazil had the game’s big hit, a single that produced two runs in the fourth.
The Wildcats banged out 13 hits with Mykala Ramsey getting four of those. Brazil, Delaney Kindopp and Kayla Pardini had two hits each.
Kindopp was the winning pitcher as she limited Carrillo to four hits.
“Her game is keeping the ball down and she did that consistently,” Venturi said.
Shaelin Kidneigh had two of the Pumas’ hits.
PETALUMA 17, PINER 1
At Petaluma, the Trojans advanced to the final of the Sonoma County League tournament.
The other first-round game is today and will pit Analy against Sonoma Valley.
Petaluma hosts the championship game on Thursday.
Tuesday’s game was shortened to five innings after the Trojans scored at least two runs every time they batted.
Their big inning was the fourth when they scored 10. Brie Gerhardt’s grand slam was the key hit.
Gerhardt finished the game with six RBIs and scored four runs.
Joelle Krist was 4 for 5 and Miranda Swanson finished 3 for 4.
“We’re pretty much on top of our game right now,” coach Kurt Jastrow said.
Petaluma, unbeaten is SCL play, is 22-3 overall.