By Kyle Foster
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
STOCKTON-There will be no section title repeat for the Napa High softball team following their 16-5 loss to St. Mary’s-Stockton.
The Rams’ (17-7) hit well all day, but in the first inning they started the offensive onslaught with a three-run bomb over the center field fence by Alex Preston.
Napa (19-10) did in fact fight back following the homer with a homer of their own. Grace Guzman doubled and was brought in on Peyton Mott’s eighth and final round tripper of the her senior season.
St. Mary’s had their biggest inning of the game in the third inning by putting up seven runs. The inning was highlighted by Carley Morfey’s two-run homer. They also scored a run in the second, two in the fourth, and three in the sixth.
The Indians scored their final runs on the day in the bottom of the fifth with a three-run rally. Katie O’Donnell sparked the rally with a double and her courtesy runner Alana Valentine scored on a Lindsey Lehman double. McKenna Walls brought in Lehman with a single before later scoring on a Haylee Giarritta single.
“We let them get out on us a little too much,” Napa coach Ron Walston said of the fifth inning rally.
According to Walston it was a major success for Napa to make it to the final four.
“I’m proud of them,” he said. “There were a couple low points in the season: one before I came back, these kids they were really down and they pulled it out and we had a good run there at first and then in the middle of the season we had another low point, but they came back. To be honest to get here that was a great accomplishment. To get by that Del Campo team — that’s one of the best teams that in a game I’ve coached (against) that’s probably the best team we’ve ever played against and to hang on twice when they’ve put up runs to tie it twice and hold on and win, that’s something to be proud of. I told them that when I just talked to them. That’s probably the best game I’ve ever coached period.”
The loss is also end of the careers of Brianna Bowers, Mott, and O’Donnell, who will all be moving on to play college softball. But Walston thinks with the nucleus coming back the team will be in good shape.
“We’re losing three crucial spots in those, you know Peyton, Katie, and Brianna,” Walston said of losing the number two, three, and four hitters in the lineup. “Those are going to be hard spots to fill, but you know we’ve got some good girls, young kids coming up, and they fight, they work hard they’ll be back.”
Come next school year Napa will head to the Vine Valley Athletic League, which is in the CIF North Coast Section.
“It’s definitely going to be different you know,” Walston said of the joining the VVAL. “As long as I’ve been coaching, I don’t know six or seven years in high school you know (we’ve been) playing the same teams every year and playing them three times, you know we’re going to a different league and you know we only play each team twice and it’s going to change things up a little bit that’s for sure. It’ll be nice to you know play more of the local teams.”