’s varsity softball team was not expected to advance far into the playoffs, but the Huskies defied all the odds and won the D-I Sac-Joaquin Section championship Wednesday by knocking off Delta River League champions Ponderosa 8-1 at the Sacramento Softball Complex.
Sheldon came in barely qualifying for the playoffs placing third in the Delta River League with a 6-4 league record and had to play an additional out-bracket game just to enter the section playoffs. The Huskies came in as defending SJS champions and have now won back-to-back section titles.
“This is a very special group this year,” said Sheldon head coach Mary Jo Truesdale. “Having seven seniors on the team and most of the seniors I’ve coached for four years, some them three and some just one, this win means a lot to me.”
Sheldon started the game strong scoring two runs in the top of the first inning from a two-run RBI double by senior first baseman Nikki Miles. Senior catcher Meshalon Moore then hit a solo home run to deep left field that amped up the Huskies.
Sheldon did the most offensive damage in the top of the fourth scoring five unanswered runs. Ponderosa tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh but only got one run out of the brief rally.
Moore said after the game that the win and becoming back-to-back section champions was more than exciting.
“It’s amazing, I didn’t even imagine our win would be this much hyped,” Moore said. “It’s a really great feeling and I love it so much.”
Moore also said that hitting the home run in the top of the third felt great, but she was more happy to help her team than hitting the home run itself.
“It was just really exciting for me to get that home run and I’m just glad I got to help my team out more since we were already winning,” she said. “A home run is a home run, it just felt pretty good to hit it.”
There was a nerve-racking moment during the top of the fifth inning when Moore suffered a mild concussion after sliding into second base. The injury was mild but she was taken out of the game for precautionary reasons.
The Huskies’ defense helped Sheldon gain the victory with only giving up the one run in the seventh inning. Senior starting pitcher Alexis Cooper pitched a complete game for Sheldon.
“I think it was a really good showing of our defense because Ponderosa is a really good hitting team,” Cooper said. “So for us to come in and able to shut them down is a really good thing for us. We had good pitch calling, good defense and everything was good all around, that’s why we had defense on the defensive side.”
Cooper, daughter of Elk Grove Mayor Jim Cooper, will be playing softball for Arizona State University for college.
With many of the seniors on the team having won back-to-back section titles with last year’s team, Truesdale said that a dreaded Sheldon curse has been broken with this title win.
“There was this thing where a group of juniors would win the section championship but then couldn’t win it as seniors, so there was this talk about a curse,” Truesdale said. “Well this group broke that curse, so that’s been really exciting.”
After winning a tough first round matchup against Tracy 5-3 on May 15, Sheldon has since cruised through the playoffs winning every game leading up to the championship game by eight runs or more. The Huskies have also scored 16 runs or more in three of its six playoff victories.
Truesdale said that this season ranks as one of the most exciting for her and the most rewarding season from what the team has accomplished.
“For us coming in as the No. 3 seed in league and the visitor every single playoff game is remarkable,” she said. “It’s amazing to beat everybody and beat everybody by a lot and to come out on top in the championship game and not get beat by anybody during the run.”
This is Sheldon’s fourth section title since the school first opened in 1997.