Zebras finish PVL 12-0 in softball, open playoffs in Stockton

By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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Lincoln High’s varsity softball team, which went 12-0 in Pioneer Valley League play, opens the playoffs against Center tonight in Stockton. All Sac-Joaquin Section, Division IV playoff softball games will be played at Arnaiz Stadium in Stockton. The Zebras (22-3-1) are the No. 1 seed from the PVL while Center is the No. 2 seed from the Central Valley Conference. The loser of tonight’s game will be eliminated. The winner was set to play another game on Wednesday night. This playoff tournament is double elimination following the first round. Semi-final games will be played on Friday and the championship game will be at noon on Saturday. There will be a 2 p.m. game Saturday if necessary due to the double-elimination format. Lincoln coach Donna Tofft says her team is confident. “They have just come through and done everything I’ve asked them to do. I’m just proud of each and everyone of them,” said Lincoln coach Donna Tofft before talking about how challenging it is to go undefeated in league play. “It’s harder the second time around (the league schedule). Take a look at the first time we played Placer and won 28-0. And then we beat them 3-0. (The other teams) improve and you get a little complacent . . . If we play Whitney or Bear River for a third time, there is different dynamics.” If that third match-up does occur with either team, it will be in the section finals on Saturday. “I expect to (see either Bear River or Whitney in the finals if Lincoln gets there),” Tofft said. “Do I want to? No.” Lincoln, whose last league title came in 2000, closed the PVL season with a 12-2 victory at Mesa Verde on May 13. Nikoli Sharp (five innings, two runs, one earned run, two hits, two walks, one strikeout) and Stephanie Tofft (two innings, one walk, four strikeouts) both pitched for the Zebras. Katie Emerson (3-for-4, run, three RBI, steal), Sharp (2-5, three runs, RBI), Tofft (2-4, two runs, two RBI, double, three steals) and Shelby Jones (2-3, run) led the Lincoln offense.