Metro champion Miners ousted | TheUnion.com
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Metro champion Miners ousted

KEITH JIRON

SACRAMENTO – The sun has set on the Nevada Union softball team’s dream season.

The Miners, who won the Metro Conference title going away this season, were bounced from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Tournament thanks to a 6-1 loss to Elk Grove in the first round of the consolation bracket at the Sacramento Softball Complex Monday.

NU head coach Darren Chan kept it positive despite the loss.

“I really didn’t expect to get this far. The simple fact that we did tells me a lot about (the character) and future this team has,” the first-year skipper said.

That future will showcase a returning core of 12 battled-hardened underclassmen, including 2004 league MVP Becky Dowd, and all-league first teamers Kristin Schmidt and Kala Olson.

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All-league second team members Rachelle Chan, a 10-game winner this year, Sara Wixon and Sarah Nunnink are also set to wear the navy and gold in 2005.

“We had our ups and downs this season, but we really showed what we were made of by winning the league championship,” Dowd, a junior, said. “This year was great experience. Next year, it’s going to be even better.”

The Miners (21-9-1), who defeated Folsom in their first round showdown, 4-3 in extra innings Saturday, only to be no-hit by Grace Davis (Modesto) in a 6-0 second round loss, found themselves in a hole early versus the Delta League champion Thundering Herd (28-1).

Elk Grove batters roughed up NU starter Dowd for six runs on six hits through the first two and 2/3 innings.

The Miners, who had totaled just for runs on three hits in their previous two playoff games, managed just a single run and hit – an Olson single – in that same span.

The Miners got hits from Nunnink and Chan in the fourth and sixth innings, respectively, but never had a runner in scoring position

Elk Grove starter Cortney Allen gave up one run on two hits, walked none and fanned a game-best five in four innings’ work to get the win.

Thundering Herd reliever Heather Garrison gave up a hit, walked none and struck out three in three scoreless innings and

“The other leagues’ have some really tough pitchers compared to our league,” said Dowd, who got the loss.

After replacing Dowd with one out left in the third, Rachelle Chan gave up two hits, walked one and struck out two the rest of the way.

“It was a privilege to play Elk Grove because now my team can see what it takes to be an elite team” coach Chan said. “Half of the girls are going to play over the summer. I think we’ll definitely going to be stronger next year.”


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