For the second straight nonleague game against a tough opponent, the Sonoma Valley High School varsity softball girls found themselves battling back from early deficits and putting themselves in a position to steal a comeback win.

But, for the second consecutive preseason game, the young Lady Dragons saw their determined rally fall just short in a 6-5 loss to Encinal, a perennially good East Bay team, Friday afternoon at the high school field.

After the Jet girls put a three-spot on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning, Sonoma quickly answered with a three-run rally in the bottom of the frame, highlighted by senior Lindsey Rocha, who missed most of last season with a knee injury and recovery, scorching a bases-loaded, three-RBI double to left-centerfield.

The game remained tied until the top of the fifth, when Encinal tallied three more runs for a 6-3 advantage, which the Lady Dragons whittled down to a one-run deficit at 6-5, which was, unfortunately, the way the game ended.

Junior ace Hannah Herrick pitched another solid game in taking the loss for Sonoma, yielding three earned runs, while scattering nine hits, striking out seven and walking four.

Pacing Sonoma’s girls offensively were Rocha’s double, single and three RBIs; senior Samantha Richards’ two singles and one run scored; freshman Hayden Pearce’s single, RBI and run; junior Shauny McVeigh’s single and RBI; and a run each by seniors Amber Rose and Michelle Stovall, and frosh Katie Stovall.

The Lady Dragons host both nonleague Ukiah and Cardinal Newman in their 4 p.m. preseason finales today and Thursday, March 20, at the high school field.