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Buckaroos fall 9-0 in first postseason game in program history after easily downing Gaston last week

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - St. Paul senior Rachel Vela connects on a pitch against the Gaston Greyhounds on May 15. Vela went three-for-four with a game-high four RBIs.

The St. Paul softball season came to a close Monday after the Bucks lost 9-0 to the Glide Wildcats in the first round of the Class 2A/1A state playoffs.

Playing in their first post season game in program history, the Buckaroos were locked in a defensive showdown against the hosting Wildcats (17-7, 10-4 Special District 5) for much of the contest until the gates were blown open late in the game.

St. Paul starting pitcher Rachel Vela kept Glide largely at bay, with a lone run given up in the bottom of the third inning when the Wildcats induced a walk with two outs and brought it home with a double to left field.

The Bucks got out of the inning without incurring further damage, but were unable to find a groove against Glide pitcher Jordan Williams, who fanned the first 13 St. Paul batters en route to an 18-strikeout game.GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - St. Paul senior Megan Tuck breaks for home, scoring one of her three runs she recorded in the Buckaroos' 18-4 win over the Gaston Greyhounds in the league playoffs.

St. Paul recorded its lone hit of the day when sophomore Jordan Caldwell stroked a single to right field in the top of the fifth, but the team could not capitalize on the opportunity and went down swinging with its next two batters.

The Bucks got another chance in the top of the sixth when Alex Tegland grounded to third base, but the Glide defender mishandles the ball, allowing for Tegland to reach first safely. Sadie Smith followed by drawing a walk, putting Tegland into scoring position.

After Vela struck out, Megan Tuck drew another walk to load the bags, but Destiny Smith ended the inning with a pop out into foul territory.

The bottom of the inning sealed the game in Glide's favor. The Wildcats found their offensive rhythm, pounding the Bucks for seven consecutive runs before St. Paul was able to record the first out. Glide tacked on one more run for good measure to bring the game to its final margin of victory, and the Bucks went down in order in the seventh inning to conclude the contest.

St. Paul (18-10, 13-8 Special District 1) ended its season with the program's most victories since returning to varsity play four years ago. The team's 352 runs scored ranked second in the state among all 2A/1A teams.

The Bucks reached the playoffs via a 18-4 win in the Special District 1 playoffs versus Gaston on May 15 in a soggy game that ended in five innings due to the 10-run rule.

The victory gave the Bucks some much-savored payback over a Gaston team that took two of three games from the Bucks in the regular season.

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