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Oak Ridge gets big 3-0 win over Pleasant Grove

By: Matt Long
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Leave it to senior night to bring out the best in Oak Ridge High’s varsity softball team. With their backs to the wall, Oak Ridge needs two wins this week to get back in the playoff race. The team got off on the right track on Wednesday, upsetting Pleasant Grove 3-0 to improve to 3-4 in the Delta River League and move within a game and one-half of the Eagles, who sit in the third and final playoff spot. The Lady Trojans did it with exceptional pitching, solid defense and execution on offense; three things that have rarely been seen in the same game against a top-ranked opponent all year. Kasey Stanchek got the shutout, keeping the Eagles off the scoreboard with the help of an errorless game from the defense behind her. Offensively, Oak Ridge scored one run on a RBI single by Jenessa Jeppesen, another on a passed ball and the third on a squeeze bunt. “I liked the fact that we stayed aggressive throughout the entire game,” Oak Ridge coach Marc Bentovoja said. “Even when things didn’t go our way, we stayed aggressive and kept putting pressure on Pleasant Grove. “Kasey threw like a bulldog and that’s what we need from her. She should be surprised when the other team gets a hit off her. We were error-free on defense and offensively, we got some hits off who I think is the best pitcher in the section, Ally Carda. We were able to scratch out some runs and that’s what it’s all about.” Stanchek, one of the team’s five seniors along with Julia Okasaki, Christine Berg, Jeppesen and Megan Watson, had what was arguably her best outing of the season and certainly in the most important game. “It felt good to get the win,” Stanchek said. “It was definitely a big game and a big day with it being senior day. We all came together today and played with heart and played with energy and didn’t let up. Our defense was fantastic; the best it’s been all season. “My drop ball was working and I was able to get some ground balls and the defense made the plays.” Bentovoja was happy for his seniors. “They’ve all been in the program four years and Kasey has been with the varsity all four years,” Bentovoja said. “Most of the others have been up here for two years. It’s easier to coach when you have girls like these that who are good team leaders.” While the team was happy with the win, Friday brings another test on the road at St. Francis. “We all stepped up today and we’re going to have to do it again on Friday,” Stanchek said.