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Varsity Girls Grab Tournament Title, League Win
Seven games in five days is an ambitious schedule ... but the varsity Lady Cougars made it work, going 6-1 over that time frame on the softball diamond, including taking another tournament championship.

Non-league games against Calaveras and Hilmar, a Trans-Valley League contest against Ripon Christian and an appearance in the Jackson Tournament were all on the slate for the squad.

Starting off the week at Calaveras, the girls took a 2-0 win in the Tuesday, March 10 contest.

Caitlin Brooks was masterful on the mound, striking out 17. Lounette Jackson ripped a triple to help get the offense going.

They traveled to Hilmar the next day, March 11, and took a 3-2 loss.

"They just weren't swinging the bats that day," coach Dianne Teixeira said of the loss.

Morgan Eisenga handled the pitching duties and struck out 11. She also helped her own cause, going 2-for-3 with a double, but the Lady Cougars fell just short in the contest.

On Thursday, March 12, they opened up the Trans-Valley League campaign with a game on the road at Ripon Christian.

After the offensive slowdown at Hilmar, the team meeting prior to Thursday's league start focused on getting things back on a roll. The girls responded, said Teixeira, with a 7-0 win and 10 hits against their TVL counterparts.

Brooks struck out 17 and walked four in getting the win.

"Lounette was 3-for-4 with a home run, Caitlin had two RBI, Casey Schmidig was 2-for-4 with a double," Teixeira said.

Escalon had seven runs on 10 hits with one error, Ripon Christian had no runs on just one hit with two errors. The Lady CouAgars scored four in the first, one in the second, one in the fourth and one in the fifth.

Barely taking a break, the girls were back on the road Friday, kicking off an appearance in the Jackson tourney with a pair of games. They opened against Placer and beat them 4-0, then topped Vista del Lago, 8-0.

"We ended up taking the tournament," Teixeira said of the successful road trip.

Against Placer, Brooks had 18 strikeouts and walked three, tossing a no-hitter. Kattie Schmidig had a homer with two RBI in the win.

Eisenga, not to be outdone, tossed her own no-hitter against Vista, with 11 strikeouts and one walk. Jackson was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI to pace the squad. Brooks was 2-for-3, Eisenga had a double and an RBI and Rachel Frasier went 2-for-4.

Saturday, the varsity girls got a 5-0 win over Tokay to start the day, with Brooks tossing another no-hitter, with two walks and 10 strikeouts. Kattie Schmidig had a double and two RBI, Breanna Brodie knocked a ball over the fence for a homer.

That put the girls into the championship game against Bear River, the team they lost to in the final round of the tourney last year. This year, it was a different story.

"We won, 5-3," Teixeira said.

Brooks struck out 10, walked four and allowed just three hits, while getting lots of support from her teammates.

Kattie Schmidig was 2-for-3 with a single, Jackson had a double, Eisenga had a single and an RBI, and Frasier had a single.

"We got four runs in the fourth," Teixeira said of the big inning for the girls. "We got back to back to back hits."

Tournament MVP honors went to Caitlin Brooks, while Kattie Schmidig and Lounette Jackson earned All Tournament Team honors.

"It was good to have that Hilmar game smack us back to reality," Teixeira said of the one-run loss early in the week. "We had a little talk after that ... they came back firing, that got us all ready to go."

The girls get into the thick of the TVL schedule now, hosting Riverbank on Thursday, March 19 at 4 p.m. They were slated to host Hughson on Tuesday, March 17 after the Times went to press and will face off with Ripon Christian in Escalon on Monday, March 23.

Teixeira said the girls have started off strong and are taking this year's team motto - "Want It" - to heart early.

"They're looking strong," she said.

For the JV girls, they took a loss at home on Tuesday, March 10 against Calaveras and then also traveled to the Jackson Tournament. Results of their games there were not available at press time. With just a few JV teams in the Trans-Valley League, the girls will next be in action at Ripon on Thursday, March 26. They were slated to host Hughson on Tuesday, March 17 after The Times went to press.