If there’s one thing that gets Davis High going on the softball diamond, it’s a meaningful Delta Valley Conference matchup against Franklin.
So the Blue Devils had an extra hop in their step during Tuesday’s home game, and the result was one of the season’s best all-around performances. The locals’ 6-4 win over the Wildcats came in front of more than 50 fans.
With Elk Grove running away with first place in the league, DHS (8-13) and Franklin (6-9) are tied — a three-way deadlock with Laguna Creek — for second at 3-2 in DVC play. The two rivals won’t have the same record for long, however, as the Devils play the Wildcats again on Wednesday (4:15 p.m.) in Elk Grove.
The rivalry between Davis and Franklin has been heated since 2010, when a controversial coin flip send the ‘Cats to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs instead of the Blue Devils.
“We have a great rivalry with this team,” said DHS junior Emily Ginn, who acknowledged it had something to do with “an event that happened before I came here.
“Also because of the situation where we are in league, we had to win this game. It was exciting. This game we came out harder and we were more prepared, mentally, emotionally and physically. I just thought we got pumped.”
Ginn went 2-for-3 in the game, one of four Devils with multiple hits on the day.
After two scoreless innings, Davis showed its full offensive repertoire — power, small ball and timely hitting — to get the first run of the game in the bottom of the third.
Junior No. 9 batter Dominque Sommer opened the frame by blasting a double to the left-field fence off of Franklin’s freshman hurler Vanessa Abeyta. Sommer went to third on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Catherine Slabuagh, then came home on a clutch single up the middle from senior Kaitlyn Lagattuta.
After the Wildcats tied things up in the top of the fourth, the Blue Devils took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning.
Senior Maddie Asta got things started with a double down the left-field line, junior Rachel Clift sacrificed her to third and an error on Rachel Mobley’s fly to center allowed Asta to come home.
Following a hit by sophomore Faith Harlan, Sommer’s RBI single made it 3-1.
“We played absolutely fantastic,” said DHS coach Art Guerra. “We played small ball, had a couple of hit and runs — it was a fun day.
“It’s one of those situations where the rivalry goes pretty deep. That helps the intensity a little bit.”
While the local offense was starting to put together rallies, starter Mobley was humming in the circle. After allowing one hit in each of the first two innings — and getting out of the jam both times — the Devil pitcher did not allow a hit for the rest of her stint.
Freshman Audrey Dufresne took over in the fifth, letting in an unearned run in that frame that was charged to Mobley, but keeping the hitless streak alive until the seventh.
And by that time, thanks to a three-run bottom of the fifth, Davis was sitting pretty with a 6-2 advantage.
The fifth inning saw Ginn, senior catcher Ashley Dufresne, Asta and Audrey Dufresne hit consecutive one-out singles, with the last two bringing in one run each. A sacrifice by Mobley was followed by Harlan’s RBI single to cap the Blue Devil scoring.
A towering two-run homer by Franklin’s Peyton Rawls in the seventh inning accounted for the final two runs of the contest.
Three DVC squads will earn trips to the section tournament and, with Elk Grove already locked in, DHS, Franklin and Laguna Creek are competing for the other two spots.
Guerra and Ginn like the Devils’ chances to get a leg up with another win Wednesday.
“I think we are ready,” Ginn said. “I think we are going to come out hard and just do work.”
— Reach Chris Saur at email@example.com or 530-747-8049.