Mini-Stampede Hits Livermore

State No. 1 St. Francis of Mountain View and its state-ranked rivals from Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) both won twice on Saturday in a hastily-arranged doubleheader with Livermore schools.

When the Livermore Recreation and Parks Department deemed the field at Robertson Park unplayable on both Thursday and Friday, it spelled doom for the 30th Annual Livermore Stampede.

However, after the announcement was made at 6:30 am on Friday morning, everyone was scrambling since losing the Stampede’s five games in Northern California, where most teams have played less than half the games of teams so far in Southern California. That’s hard to replace, but the schools involved are doing their best.

Not only were the head coaches of the three traveling teams, Cal-Hi Sports No. 25 Whitney (Rocklin), Sacramento Sheldon, and Petaluma Casa Grande, on their laptops in the host hotel on Friday morning busily at work to try and find replacement games for the five they lost with the cancellation of the Stampede, tournament director and Livermore assistant coach Toff Garcia and head coach Andy Paulazzo were busy behind the scenes trying to salvage something out of what was expected to be a great event in the 30th anniversary of the first Stampede.

The three travelling teams went home but not before all had secured some games. Local Stampede teams also were scurrying to find games as well.

Around 9 am on Friday, Paulazzo texted to say his Cowboys’ girls were going to play Stampede participant Carondelet of Concord on Friday afternoon on its artificial turf field, and that four Showcase games were being arranged for Saturday at Junction Middle School in Livermore, a four field complex that also serves as the home field for Livermore.

Two fields were made more than adequately playable and the plan was to play two games at a time in a miniature style format just like the Stampede.

Livermore (13-3) got a 15-0 run rule victory on Friday over Carondelet and for Saturday the Cowboys’ girls would host state No. 1 original Stampede participants St. Francis (Mountain View) and No. 7 Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) at 11 am and 1 pm, respectively.

Mitty was scheduled to face Amador Valley (Pleasanton) at 11 am and St. Francis was to play Granada (Livermore) at 1 pm, but when that team decided not to play Amador Valley took a second game and faced off with St. Francis.

Despite the short notice several hundred fans came out and got to see some great softball, and the chuck wagon with tri-tip and BBQ chicken was rolled out to feed the hungry throng.

St. Francis (13-0) picked up right where it left off after winning a Co-Championship at the Michelle Carew Classic two weeks ago in Anaheim.

Head coach Mike Oakland went with Texas A&M-committed and early Ms. Softball State Player of the Year hot candidate Kate Munnerlyn in the circle against Livermore, and the left-handed ace tossed a 5-0 shutout on a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts and two bases on balls. Only a leadoff single in the top of the seventh by Minnesota-bound Livermore senior Jae Cosgrove separated Munnerlyn from a no-hitter.

While Munnerlyn and Boise State-bound senior pitcher Shannon Keighran get most of the props, Munnerlyn was obviously on but the big bat came from Peyton Tsao. The Lancers’ second-sacker went 3-for-3 with a home run, double, two RBI and a run scored. The other two runs for St. Francis came in the top of the seventh when a single by Keighran drove in sophomore and coaches’ daughter Jamie Oakland and Idaho State-bound senior shortstop Rebecca Quinn.

“I look up to the older girls on this team,” Tsao remarked. “They’re so supportive of me and always have my back.”

In the second game for the Lancers it was Tsao once again taking center stage. In an 8-2 victory over Amador Valley, she blasted two home runs and had four RBI and two runs scored. Tsao now has five home runs this season. The Lancers other runs came on a three-run home run by Munnerlyn that provided some additional support for Keighran who was in the circle.

Keighran ended up pitching an eight-hitter and gave up one earned run with five strikeouts and no walks.

Archbishop Mitty (11-1) won both of its games on Saturday, 7-2 over Amador Valley and 9-5 versus Livermore.

Against Amador Valley, it was Kentucky-bound senior Lindsey Miller staking the Monarchs to a 2-0 on a second-inning two-run home run. Mitty sophomore ace Kayleigh Mace only gave up four hits and two walks but Amador Valley touched her up for two runs in the top of the sixth and the game ended up going to extra innings.

Mitty finished it off in the eighth on a game-winning RBI single by sophomore basketball superstar and Monarchs shortstop McKenna Woliczko, followed by an RBI single by UCLA-bound senior Corri Hicks, and then Miller closed things out with a long three-run home run that plated Woliczko and Hicks.

In the second game against Livermore, the Monarchs broke a 1-1 tie with five runs in the top of the fifth when they sent 11 batters to the plate. Livermore junior starter Savanna Froke gave up three runs on an RBI single by senior Keira Brady, followed by a single by Miller that drove in Brady and Woliczko, who had doubled. Hicks was walked intentionally and advanced on the hit by Miller. A two-run single ended the inning.

Along with Tsao of St. Francis, Miller ended up as the overall hitting stars for the mini Stampede. In the two games combined, she was 4-for-8 with two home runs, a double, seven RBI and five runs scored, six if you count the courtesy runner for the Monarchs catcher. She was also perfect behind the plate in 22 total chances and 21 put outs. She also threw out a runner trying to steal.

“I was feeling it today. I was seeing the ball really well,” Miller said with a huge grin. “We’ve been doing a lot of just focusing on getting your pitch, and today they were throwing me my pitch.”

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