Lady Dragons seize SCL opener with flurry finish at Healdsburg
Junior Megan McNeilly, seen firing a strike during the Lady Dragons’ earlier nonleague triumph over San Rafael at the high school field, was the winning pitcher in Sonoma’s SCL-opening victory at Healdsburg last Thursday.
They might be young, with only one senior on the squad, and lack varsity experience, but you would never know it by how Sonoma Valley High School’s varsity softball girls constantly compete with confidence and determination, and, of course, it doesn’t hurt that they have a lot of talent, as well as team depth.
So, it might not be a surprise that they opened Sonoma County League play with a win, but how they accomplished the feat with a flurry of a finish, on the road, no less, was both impressive and imposing for their future opponents.
Holding a 5-3 lead after five innings behind the solid pitching of junior ace Megan McNeilly, the visiting Lady Dragons erupted for five runs in the top of the sixth, then didn’t stop scoring until they touched the plate seven more times in the seventh en route to routing Healdsburg 17-3 in last Thursday’s SCL opener.
While McNeilly earned the complete-game win over the Greyhound girls by scattering eight hits, striking out five and walking one, her Sonoma teammates rapped out 10 hits, with sophomore third-baseman Ashley Vail’s two-RBI double in the top of the sixth being the key knock in the five-run inning.
Leading the Lady Dragons were Vail’s two-for-four, including the double and two RBIs; sophomore Kendall Ashe’s two-for-five with a double; sophomore Zoe Gaarder’s two singles; and a single each by McNeilly, junior Anna Stewart, sophomores Juliana Gutierrez and Tali Soroker, and freshman Lindsey Rocha.
Rounding out the Sonoma 2011 varsity softball girls’ roster – directed by head coach Dean Merrill and assistant coaches Marc Ray and Wally Reis – are senior Mia Stornetta; junior Lindsay Stewart; sophomore Riley Ellis-Reis; and frosh Amber Rose.
On Saturday, the Lady Dragons traveled to Santa Rosa for a nonleague game against Piner and they posted a 4-3 win as Gaarder pitched a complete-game five-hitter, allowing two earned runs, while striking out four and walking two.
Sonoma was led offensively by Ashe’s two-for-three with an RBI; Gutierrez’s single and RBI; and a single apiece by McNeilly, Vail, Rose and Samantha Richards, who was called up from the Lady Dragons’ junior varsity for the game.
The Lady Dragons, who host nonleague Ursuline at 4 p.m. this Friday, April 8, at the high school field, hit the road for their next two SCL games, playing at perennial power Petaluma today, and face El Molino in Forestville next Tuesday, April 12.