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Friends become foes: Cassady tries to psych out rival coach with telephone game

Sacramento City softball coach Robert Maglione received a phone call from his godson, Dewey Cassady, on Tuesday morning.

He'd anticipated something along those lines.

"My godson calls me up and asks me to 'Please not beat his daddy this weekend,' " Maglione said. "I wouldn't have expected anything less."

Maglione received a similar call every morning this week as he prepared to match wits with his good friend and Merced College softball coach Steve Cassady in the second round of the NorCal playoffs.

"I don't know that it does anything in terms of the games, but it's a source of great amusement to me," Cassady said. "He gets a little more serious about things than I do, so I like to tweak him a bit."

Though the two friends haven't met in the playoffs since 1998, Maglione knew what was coming.

"I've known Steve for 20 years now," Maglione said. "We have had some good battles on the field and have developed a real friendship off of the field.

"I was honored when I was asked to be a godfather and I had a feeling I'd be hearing from him this week."

Despite the playful exchanges, both coaches made it clear the friendship will be put on hold for the weekend as the best-of-three series gets underway today.

More than just the usual bragging rights, there's a berth to the state tournament on the line.

"I can hate anybody for seven innings," Cassady said with a chuckle.

"I don't need his friendship on the field, I have 18 friends in the dugout with me."

Maglione wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's a great matchup, because (Steve's) such a tactician," Maglione said. "He plots a game (and) makes sure I'm ready to coach against him."

Cassady may need that tactical edge against a Sacramento City squad that put up very impressive numbers.

Sac City (No. 2 in NorCal rankings) posted a 46-3 record and boasts the state's top pitcher in Amanda Monday.

Monday was almost unhittable, recording 31-3 record with a 0.50 earned run average.

She also struck out 208 batters in 209 innings.

Oddly, Monday's power game could be more conducive to MC's hitters than the off-speed stuff they saw from Gavilan's Danielle Hernandez last weekend.

"The harder she throws the ball, the further it goes," MC shortstop Monica Hall said. "We're a team that can adjust better to pitchers who throw hard."

The She-Devils have backed that up, having produced some offense against about a third of the top 20 pitchers in the state.

"A lot of things seem to have come together for this series," Cassady said. "I always say I think we can do it, but this year I really mean it."