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Playoffs begin without Lincoln

Whitney holds tiebreaker over Zebras
By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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Lincoln High’s varsity softball team won four of its last five games but still fell short of reaching the Sac-Joaquin Section, Division IV playoffs. The Pioneer Valley League takes three teams to the playoffs two out of every three years but this was the year that it gets just two. Lincoln, which finished 8-4 in league play, tied for second place with Whitney. Whitney advanced to the playoffs because it went 2-0 against Lincoln this season. Bear River (12-0) also qualified for the playoffs that opened Wednesday at Arnaiz Stadium in Stockton. Colfax finished 7-5 and in fourth place but if it had won its final game (6-5 loss to Bear River May 7) then Lincoln, Whitney and Colfax would have finished in a three-way tie. The teams would have had to play it off to see who earned the playoff spot. Lincoln (17-10 overall) learned that Colfax had lost to Bear River moments after it won its final game, 6-1, over visiting El Dorado. “When you only take two teams and you know it ahead of time you just deal with it. Whitney did what they needed to do,” Lincoln coach Donna Tofft said. “We knew where we needed to be and we knew we needed to beat Whitney in the second half of the season and we didn’t (3-1 loss).” Lincoln scored all six of its runs over the first two innings in the finale and was able to enjoy itself against El Dorado. Both star pitchers got to strut their stuff as sophomore Stephanie Tofft (three innings, one earned run, one hit, two walks, eight strikeouts) and freshman Nikoli Sharp (four innings, one hit, two walks, five strikeouts) combined to give up just two hits. Cassie Emerson (2-for-3), Sharp (1-4, run, RBI, triple, steal), Tofft (1-4, run, RBI, two steals), Monique Dunievitz (1-2, run, RBI), Sara Godbee (1-2, run, two RBI, double, steal) and Priscilla Montoya (2-2, run, RBI, steal) led the Lincoln offense. “It was nice,” Donna Tofft said. “Everybody played and everybody had a chance to hit and play the field. “I was really happy with the way we ended the season, we really picked it up over the last two-and-a-half weeks. The kids worked well and responded. If we can start there next year I’ll be ecstatic.”