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Wheatland Sun

Lady Falcons Complete Season Sweep over Lady Honkers

May 12, 2023 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Steven Bryla

Yuba City junior first baseman Bella McCleary (14) stretches for the ball in the Lady Honkers defeat 11-3 to River Valley on Thursday, April 27.

Lady Falcons Complete Season Sweep over Lady Honkers [2 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

YUBA CITY, CA (MPG) - The River Valley softball team kicked up the temperature gage on their odds at returning to the CIF Sac-Joaquin playoffs for the second year in a row as they beat the Yuba City Lady Honkers 11-3 in a Capital Valley Conference game on Thursday, April 27.

The win for River Valley against their cross-town rival kept them in the hunt as they currently sat two and a half games back of Roseville for the third and final auto-bid playoff spot the CVC is guaranteed in the playoffs.

Yuba City head coach Amy Olchefske expressed to the Dispatch that they need their momentum to begin earlier in the game. The Lady Honkers consistently hit the ball hard every at bat, but they were always lasered within small steps of multiple Lady Falcons players around the diamond.

Yuba City (2-9, 1-8 CVC) picked up their first CVC win on April 25, in the first game of a double-header against Antelope.

Olchefske exclaimed to the Dispatch the importance of getting a CVC win.

“It was motivating because we can win, we just let easy mistakes get to us and we need to fix them,” Olchefske said.

River Valley (6-6, 4-4 CVC) chipped away every inning as they were up 11-0 heading to the bottom of the sixth.

The dominant pitching of Lady Falcons sophomore pitcher Payton Smith dealt through her first five innings of work. She ended the day pitching 5.2 innings as she was replaced in the bottom of the sixth after a hard hit single off Yuba City freshman pitcher Chloe Gonzales struck her throwing wrist. Almond relieved Smith for the remainder of the inning as a precaution. Smith surrendered seven hits, two runs and four strikeouts.

Almond said Smith’s growth throughout the season has shown great composure.

“She never seems to get phased or rattled,” Almond said. He added that Smith took over the pitching role early in the season and ran with it when he was deciding on who was going to be his ace.

On the offensive side of the ball Smith went three-for-five with two runs-batted-in (RBI). River Valley sophomore first baseman Claudia Dudek had a day at the plate as she went two-for-five with three RBIs. Dudek’s two hits were both extra base hits including a double and a home run.

“I need to be aggressive at the plate,” Dudek said. “I have long arms and good range, so if it looks like I can hit it, I will.”

For the Lady Honkers, junior catcher/captain Lexi Dell and Gonzales had a multi-hit game for Yuba City.

Dell expressed to the Dispatch that they are continuously putting in the work and have made a huge jump throughout their season.

Dell hit two doubles going two-for-four and Gonzales went two-for-three with two singles. Additionally Lady Honkers sophomore center fielder Riley Mireles homered in the bottom of the seventh to give Yuba City a boost.

Yuba City had four games scheduled this week with a trip to Wheatland on Monday, were set to host Bella Vista on Thursday, Lincoln on Friday and end the week on the road this Saturday, May 6 at Chico.

The Lady Falcons had two crucial games this week at homes as they hosted Roseville on Tuesday and Inderkum on Thursday in hopes of making their push for the third and final guaranteed spot in the CVC standings.