With an undefeated season and potential national No. 1 ranking on the line, Amador Valley High's softball team left Friday's North Coast Section Division I championship game stunned.
The defending champion Dons, who had won 38 straight games dating back to last season, instead watched as James Logan celebrated a thrilling 1-0 victory at Saint Mary's College.
The Colts struck out 17 times and managed just three hits against Amador Valley ace Johanna Grauer. But a wayward fly ball and key defensive play by Marissa Perez, both in the seventh inning, helped James Logan (24-1) conclude one of its finest seasons in program history with a victory.
James Logan, which won its second NCS title in three years and fourth overall, lost just once this year -- when Grauer threw a no-hitter in a 2-0 game March 22.
The Colts didn't fare much better against the Arizona State-commit sophomore the second time around, but did just enough to win.
After six scoreless innings, James Logan's Jazmine Reed led off the top of the seventh with a single. Pitcher Raeann Garza stepped to the plate with two outs and, with two strikes on her, hit a fly ball to left field. It looked like a routine play, but the ball got caught up in the wind and fell for a double, allowing Reed to score from first.
"I was going to steal on that pitch on my own," said Reed, a senior shortstop. "I knew there were two outs, so I just kept going. I just thought, 'Score, score,
With the pressure on, Amador Valley (26-1) responded in the bottom half of the inning. Ashley Lotoszynski and Grauer both singled to put runners on first and second with no outs. After two pop-ups, Zoe Price then lined a base hit up the middle.
Perez, a senior center fielder, fielded the hit and fired home. Catcher Caley Bonansea grabbed the perfect throw and applied the tag on a sliding Lotoszynski, ending the game.
"Right when it got hit to Marissa Perez in center field, I knew that throw was going to be right there," James Logan coach Teri Johnson said. "It couldn't have been hit to a better player."
Amador Valley threatened in each of the final four innings, but couldn't get a key hit on Garza and a Logan defense that tallied two double plays.
"I felt my girls were very calm today, I thought we were in a good place," said Amador Valley coach Julie Marshall. "We just couldn't capitalize when we needed to."