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Hart edges ’Cats

Game decided in bottom of 12th

Posted: April 30, 2009 10:27 p.m.
Updated: May 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
West Ranch softball sat primed for a stunning upset and a school first, but Hart senior pitcher Destiny Rodino had other things in mind.

Battling through five extra innings, Rodino’s game-winning single in the bottom of the 12th brought home senior Melissa Brown and Hart escaped 4-3 Thursday at Newhall Park.

“I’ve got nothing in my voice left,” said Indians head coach Steve Calendo. “I’m exhausted. West Ranch did a great job.”
Brown led off the inning with a single, and gradually worked her way around the bases thanks to a sacrifice bunt from second baseman Allison Lewis and an intentional walk to catcher Jessica Shults.

Rodino then came to the plate and put the game away.

“I haven’t hit in a while to say the least,” Rodino said. “I wanted to get the job done for my team.”

The Wildcats (11-11, 1-5) had a chance to record their first win over Hart in school history after junior center fielder Bryanna De La Torre turned on an inside pitch, sending it down the left-field line and giving her team a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth with an inside-the-park home run.

However, Hart pinch-hitter Julie Strange’s sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom half of the frame plated Brown, and the score was once again tied up.

“That would have been our biggest win ever,” said West Ranch head coach Bob Shults.

De La Torre’s hit in the ninth inning was the Wildcats’ second game-changing blast to hug the left-field line.

In the sixth, West Ranch freshman catcher Janelle Lindvall hit a two-run single just out of Brown’s reach at third base, scoring junior Brittaney Sarmiento and De La Torre to tie the score at 2-2.

The Wildcats kept the left side of the infield busy all day, but Brown and the rest of the defense never faltered.

Brown played out of her normal spot at shortstop, and didn’t miss a beat in the field or at the plate.

“After the first inning, I knew it was going to be a close game,” Brown said. “I just wanted to stay focused and relaxed, not put pressure on myself.”

Brown finished 4-for-6 with two runs scored.

But she wasn’t the only Hart player to come up with crucial hits.

Hart senior first baseman opened up the scoring with an RBI-single in the fourth that scored Brown.

One inning later, the Indians (19-3, 5-1) expanded their lead to 2-0 when freshman Tracy Chandless hit a ball deep to left field.

As the throw came in, Lindvall moved into the baseline to catch the ball and collided with Chandless on her way home.

Hart was awarded the run.

But the dramatic plays at the plate could not overshadow the performances by Rodino and West Ranch’s Shayna Medoff, both of whom recorded complete games.

Rodino struck out 12 and gave up nine hits and three walks, while Medoff recorded two strikeouts with 10 hits and three walks.

Despite the loss, Shults was pleased with his team’s performance, and said that close games such as Thursday’s are stepping stones for the future.

“We are hanging with the best teams,” Shults said. “People might start changing their minds about which school to go to. ... I think if we go 5-5, we have a really good shot at the at-large bid from the Foothill League.”

With the win and Valencia’s 5-3 loss to Canyon, Hart moves into sole possession of first place in league.

pputignano@the-signal.com

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