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Foothill softball roundup: West Ranch takes advantage; Golden Valley wins second ever game

Valencia also wins on the day

Posted: April 22, 2014 10:23 p.m.
Updated: April 22, 2014 10:23 p.m.

West Ranch's Mollie Sorenson's seventh inning comebacker led to an error that gave the Wildcats the winning run on Tuesday at Saugus High School. West Ranch won the game 2-1.

 

It’s unlikely softball purists would have been satisfied with the way things ended between defending Foothill League champion West Ranch and title-contender Saugus on Tuesday. But the Wildcats aren’t about to complain.

A pitcher’s duel for nearly seven innings, things were decided unceremoniously on an error.

Saugus starter Mariah Lopez’s toss to first base in the top half of the seventh went sailing over first baseman Taylor Kister’s head, allowing the Wildcats’ Charlotte Romero to score the game winner in a 2-1 West Ranch victory at Saugus High School.

The game was marked by stellar pitching performances from Lopez and West Ranch starter Brandi Burgin — Burgin’s first game against the Centurions after transferring from Saugus to West Ranch this season.

“I was pretty excited,” Burgin said. “As a pitcher, I want to pitch every game, but this had more meaning to me — I had something to prove.”

She got into some trouble early, allowing a run in the first inning on two hits, but settled down to earn the complete-game victory, allowing just five hits and retiring 10 of the last 11 batters she faced in the game.

Saugus was in control for five innings, as Lopez mowed through West Ranch with just two hits allowed and 63 pitches under her belt. But she threw 43 in the final two innings.

But the Wildcats (15-4 overall, 3-0 Foothill) put the pressure on in the sixth, as Mollie Sorenson led the inning off with a hit by pitch and advanced to second on a stolen base, before moving to third on a ground out from Lauren Lindvall.

And then came the surprise of the day.

With heavy-hitter Keeley Walsh up at the plate, head coach Bob Shults called for a surprise suicide squeeze.

Walsh’s bunt was fielded by Lopez, who fired home as Sorenson came barreling down on catcher Cassidy Fitzgerald, before sliding around the tag to tie the score at 1-1.

“It was a toss up,” Sorenson said. “We practiced that play 100 times, no one would have expected it. We have to hand it to Bob. I just can’t even explain it, like a gift. It could have gone either way.”

The Centurions (13-9, 2-1) couldn’t get much going after surrendering the lead, with their only base runner down the stretch coming in the bottom of the seventh in the form of a two-out walk from Ryleigh Bermea.

But Burgin induced a fly out to left from Lindsay Clare to end the game.

“They’re a good team, but we bit ourselves,” said Saugus head coach Julie Watson-Archer. “We made a couple errors at the wrong time. We hit it hard, but couldn’t get the timely hit.”

Saugus got on the board in the first inning when Clare led off with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ty Cueva.

On the play, Sorenson caught the ball behind the infield from her second base position, and appeared to have a shot to double the runner off first and end the inning, but instead threw home behind Clare for an early 1-0 Saugus lead.

That lead, though, wouldn’t last, and now West Ranch is in sole possession of first place in the Foothill League through three games.

Golden Valley 12, Hart 8
Down five runs in the seventh inning certainly isn’t an advantageous position, but for Golden Valley, it didn’t cause many problems on Tuesday afternoon at Newhall Park.

The Grizzlies rallied from five runs down, scoring nine runs in the final frame to shock Hart and secure just their second Foothill League victory in program history.

The win snaps a 40-game Foothill League losing streak dating back to a 4-3 win over Canyon on April 14, 2011.

Trailing 8-3, Jessica Luna led off with a solo home run, before Miranda Escalera’s two-run home run scored Marissa Felix and pulled the Grizzlies (4-12, 1-2) within two.

With two outs and two on, Jenna Pearlman came through with a clutch double to tie the game, and Gabby Thomas gave Golden Valley a 10-8 lead with a two-run home run.

“We we’re smart on the bases, we took a conservative approach and of course the home runs helped,” said Golden Valley head coach Hugo Castillo. “We started to chip away. It was a big two-out rally.

Raquel Espinoza was strong on the mound for Golden Valley, which broke through against Hart pitcher Sierra Boyaijian in the final frame.

Espinoza, who also added a home run in the game, picked up the complete-game win while striking out five.

The loss dropped Hart to 6-13, 0-3 in league.

“We were hungry, very, very hungry,” said Castillo of the mind-set entering the final frame. “Not giving up, putting it out on the line. Our message to the girls is we have to push through the grind. they mentioned that. That seventh inning was a grind for us and we pushed through it.”

Valencia 15, Canyon 0
Pitcher Elaine Bunyan went the distance, shutting down Canyon and allowing just seven hits on Tuesday at Valencia High.

Valencia’s offense got on the board early, scoring one in the first before blowing things open with an eight-run second and five-run sixth.

Wendy Cardinali was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Brittany Ross-Smith matched the feat for the Vikings (10-12, 2-1), going 2-for-4 with three RBIs of her own. Hanna Cheek was 3-for-3 with an RBI.

For the Cowboys (10-8, 1-2), Paige Johnson and Megan Hill both went 2-for-3 with a double.

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