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Lady Trojans go for third straight title without top hitter

Knee injury sidelines Alicja Wolny
By: Matt Long
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If Oak Ridge is to win a third straight section title, the Lady Trojans will have to do it without their best hitter. Alicja Wolny, who is hitting .500 this season with 32 hits in 64 at bats against only three strikeouts, will miss the section playoffs with a strained patella tendon in her left knee. Wolny injured her knee in the top of the fifth inning in Oak Ridge’s 10-0 win over Cordova on May 5. It was the last regular season home game of her high school career and Senior Day. “I was just talking to Kasey (Oak Ridge pitcher Kasey Stanchek) about how she had a perfect game going and that we wanted to keep it going and make sure nothing gets by us,” Wolny said. “On the next play, the ball was hit to Devon (second baseman Devon Briney) and it was a tough play and I had to stretch to my right to catch the throw. When I did, I just felt and heard a pop in my knee and I knew it wasn’t good.” Wolny made the catch and got the out, keeping the perfect game in tact, but it cost her the playoffs. Last year she missed almost the entire season because of a torn medial collateral ligament in the same knee and now it’s a sprained patella tendon that has sidelined her. “It’s just a freak thing and it’s such a bummer,” Wolny said. “I was seeing the ball so well and we were playing well. I really wish I could finish the season.” Stanchek went on to pitch the perfect game against the Lancers, but the win was obviously bittersweet. “We lost the best hitter in the league,” Oak Ridge coach Marc Bentovoja said. “We’re loaded in the outfield, so we’ll move Molly Ryan to first base. Alicja’s bat is going to be a hard bat to replace. Not one person is going to do it. We’re going to need everyone to step up and pick up the slack.” Wolny, who’s headed to the University of Louisville on a softball scholarship in the fall, finished her season like she’s played all year, going 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a run scored before leaving the game. Oak Ridge finished the regular season Thursday with a come-from-behind 5-4 win over Vista del Lago. The Lady Trojans enter the playoffs with an impressive 20-4-1 record. They open the playoffs at 5 p.m. Friday against Rocklin (14-11), the No. 3 seed out of the Sierra Foothill League. Last season Oak Ridge beat the Thunder 1-0 and eliminated them from the playoffs. Winning another section title would have been tough anyway, but without Wolny, it makes it even tougher. Wolny, however, has the utmost confidence in her team. “I think we’ll be perfectly fine,” Wolny said. “We have a lot of good backups and we know what we have to do. I have full faith in the team.”