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Rodino, Shults lead Hart to tourney victory

Posted: March 15, 2009 2:03 a.m.
Updated: March 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Behind a dominating performance from pitcher Destiny Rodino and a home run from catcher Jessica Shults, Hart High School shut out Agoura High School 3-0 Saturday in the championship game of the Hart Classic Softball Tournament.

Rodino and Shults, both seniors, were named co-most valuable players of the tournament.

The left-handed Rodino struck out eight and only walked one in her complete-game two-hitter.

“Destiny pitched great throughout the tournament,” said Hart coach Steve Calendo. “We have a lot of seniors, so it’s big to win this tournament. It’s a good way to start the season.”

When Agoura (3-3) batters did make contact, the results were most often ground balls right at Hart (7-0).

“My gameplan was to get ground balls and let our defense do the work,” Rodino said. “But that’s my plan every game, so I didn’t change anything.”

While Rodino was stifling Charger hitters, leadoff hitter Shults broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning with a line drive into right field. Shults scored easily without a play at home for the solo home run.

“Leading off, I was trying to get on base,” Shults said. “I ran into a couple today.”

Shults also had a home run in Hart’s 5-4 semifinal victory over Alemany High school earlier on Saturday.

“Shults gets us going all the time,” Calendo said. “She did a good job leading the offense today. She does not want to let her team down.”

The Indians tacked on insurance runs in the fourth and sixth innings, off an RBI double from senior left fielder Melissa Brown and a home run from sophomore second baseman Brenna Carlson, on a hard ground ball down the third base line that traveled far because the game was played on Hart’s baseball field.

According to Calendo, the Indians tried to jump on Agoura freshman pitcher Stephanie Lord early in the count. Lord struck out eight in the game, including three on called changeups that froze Hart hitters.

“Our biggest hits came early in the count, because (Lord) has a good changeup and screwball she uses late,” Calendo said. “She’s going to be a good pitcher for them for a long time.”

Hart had an opportunity to break the game wide open in the sixth, as the Indians followed Carlson’s home run with three singles. The Indians were unable to add on any more runs, however, as Agoura left fielder Kelli Bannasse threw out Hart’s Heather Stiglich on a one-hop strike to catcher Samantha Stark to end the inning.

Agoura advanced to the final with a 4-3 win over West Ranch High School earlier on Saturday.

West Ranch (3-2) fell to Alemany (4-1) in the third-place game, 5-2.

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