Vikings split doubleheader, unable to get season sweep of Sacramento City


Aaron Tolentino

Vikings have a mound visit during a game against Sacramento City College At Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill on March 31, 2018.

Aaron Tolentino, Sports editor

After a close 3-1 win in the first game of a doubleheader against Sacramento City College, the Diablo Valley College softball team was not able to complete the season sweep of the Panthers, suffering a 5-1 loss in their second game Saturday afternoon in Pleasant Hill.

Complacency may have hit the Vikings hard after a nail-biter in the first game with pitcher Sita Manoa escaping trouble in the final inning with the game-tying run at the plate.

The Vikings lost focus and showed up in the second game distracted. They committed five costly errors that led to four unearned runs.

“Defense wins and losses us games,” said DVC head coach Dennis Luquet. “We didn’t have a lot of energy in that second game. I think they were happy they won the first game.”

The Viking players knew as well that they could have done better that second game.

“We needa get better because we beat ourselves this game,” left fielder Julia Kiester said. “We did not play as a team. All we did was get a lot of errors and we beat ourselves.”

Not having their best hitter hit in both games hurt the Vikings, especially in the second game. First baseman Julianna Pichardo was intentionally walked in all six of her plate appearances in both games.

Pichardo was seen as a big threat at the plate by Sacramento City because she torched the Panthers with a three-run home run in the seventh inning that led to a narrow Vikings’ victory last time in Sacramento. She also leads the Big 8 Conference in drawing walks and ranks fourth in home runs.

Sacramento City head coach Tim Kiernan’s decision to walk Pichardo was influenced by that three-run home run.

“That’s exactly what it did,” said Pichardo. “‘The coach even told me he said, “We’re not gonna lose to you, we’re gonna lose to your team.”’

The strategy worked for Kiernan and his team in the second game as the Vikings struggled offensively to overcome errors that dug them into a four-run deficit.

The Vikings look to play a cleaner game when they play Sierra College next with first pitch at 3 p.m. next Tuesday in Rocklin.