South dominates North in Optimist softball
SACRAMENTO — Prep softball took a final bow Wednesday in the 34th Optimist All Star North-South game at Capital Christian High School, won by the South 14-6.
Oak Ridge’s Kasey Stanchek and Jenessa Jeppesen, Ponderosa’s Olivia Lucatuorto and Golden Sierra’s Sarah Rasmussen each donned school colors one final time to partake in the annual event presented by the Evening Optimist Club of Sacramento.
All four girls were on the South roster, but Rasmussen and two others ended up playing for the North squad to balance the teams. Wednesday’s game was rescheduled after weather postponed the June 1 date, forcing several athletes to pull out.
Sheldon and Elk Grove players from two elite area programs gave the South team the edge in what turned into a one-sided affair after the first few innings. Add in UCLA-bound Pleasant Grove pitcher Ally Carda, who, despite struggling to nail down the last three outs, led a dominant pitching staff that stymied the North’s efforts to come back.
Stanchek started for the South. She was touched for three straight hits and a run to open the game but put a zero up on the scoreboard in her next inning of work. St. Francis’ Kelly Zboralske sat on a 2-2 rise pitch and drilled it over the left-field fence to even the score when the South came to bat. Lucatuorto doubled to the left-center field gap but was stranded.
The South left five runners on in the third and fourth innings, while the North went up 2-1 after Pioneer’s Lucy Fernandez roped a solo shot to left.
The South broke it open in the fifth, an inning that began when Jeppesen dropped in a single to right that was almost caught. Sheldon’s Danielle Henderson, the South MVP, ripped a deep home run to left for the lead and after two more batters reached, Husky Dejanee Moore homered to center for a 6-2 advantage.
Rasmussen pitched two innings and found her rhythm in her second frame, striking out the side. Jeppesen was 1-for-3 with a walk and Lucatuorto went 1-for-2.
The South put the game away with six runs in the seventh. Henderson hit another two-run homer, Moore doubled in a run and the rout was on. Sensing a possible 10-run mercy rule ending, some fans headed for the exits although play went the full nine innings.
The South added single runs in the eighth and ninth before the North scratched out four runs off Carda in its last at bat.
Fernandez was named MVP for the North.