Resilient Vikings earn split

Resilient Vikings earn split
The DVC softball team got a confidence-boosting 3-1 win over visiting San Joaquin Delta to earn a doubleheader split Friday afternoon in the Big 8. 
Sophomore Nicole Nordahl fired a four-hitter in the second game, after being a tough-luck loser in a 3-0 loss. 
The Vikings (21-5-1, 5-3) are in a tie with the Mustangs (16-8, 5-3) in fourth place in the powerful Big 8. 
DVC coach Dennis Luquet figures if his team can at least split its remaining doubleheaders against Cosumnes River, Sacramento City, Santa Rosa and American River, and win its other games, it will be in firm contention. 
Which is why the second game on Friday was so big. The Vikings rebounded from a gift-wrapped defeat against an opponent which had beaten them four out of five times last year.
"I think we have a lot of potential that we don't realize yet," Nordahl said. "Today, this last game, was kind of a turning point for us. After we lost the first game, we kind of had to sit down and say, 'We're better than this. We can take this as far as we want. We have the potential.'"
Nordahl, an Albany High graduate with a 3.8 GPA, has been delivering for the Vikings for two straight seasons. She improved to 21-5 with a 1.61 ERA this season with Friday's split. 
"She's the only one we got, and she just competes," DVC coach Dennis Luquet said of Nordahl, who is being recruited by Division I Middle Tennessee State, among other schools. "She just goes after people and keeps going." 
In the 3-1 win, Julia Pelletier continued her clutch hitting with an RBI single in the bottom of the third to drive in Cynthia Duenas and break a 1-1 tie. Juliana Deighton added an insurance run in the fifth, scoring on an error. Deighton also scored in the first on a Bailey Simmons groundout after being hit by a pitch. 
DVC and Delta are evenly matched on the field and in the rankings. They entered the week ranked tied for 13th in the state poll and tied for sixth in the NorCal poll. 
Nordahl was backed by some typically stellar defense. Center fielder Laurel Poff made three outstanding plays in the second game, and the Vikings turned a vital 6-4-3 double play in the sixth with runners on first and second and no outs. 
"Defense on this team is really important. We practice it all the time," Nordahl said. "Coach John Rebstock's philosophy is that if you have good defense then no one can score on you, so all day we practice (defense), so we don't make errors." 
The Vikings tend to have trouble in the second game of doubleheaders
 This time the trouble came in the first game -- make that in the first inning of the first game. ball hit by Delta in the sun's bright light with runners on second and third spurred a three-run, two-out rally. 
Even though Nordahl set Delta down the rest of the game, the damage was done. 
"You just have to pick yourself up after those (defeats) and shake it off," Nordahl said. "It's a new game, a whole new game, so you just go out and try harder that game." 
  • Matt Schwab