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Not much, but enough for Hart

Jessica Shults hits a solo home run and pitcher Destiny Rodino tosses a one-hitter

Posted: May 21, 2009 9:22 p.m.
Updated: May 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
It took 17 outs for Hart softball to end a scoreless tie, but once catcher Jessica Shults swung her bat and connected, there was no doubt that the Indians had broken through.

With two outs in the sixth inning, Shults drilled an opposite-field home run well over the left-center field wall, producing the lone run in Hart’s 1-0 victory over Trabuco Hills (19-9-1) in Thursday’s CIF-Southern Section Division I first round game.

Hart (25-4) now moves to the second round, thanks in large-part to a one-hit shutout from Destiny Rodino.

“Destiny was fantastic,” said Hart head coach Steve Calendo. “She hit her spots, and just did a great job out there. We knew that we were probably in for a low-scoring game, and Destiny took control from the first pitch she threw.”

Rodino was matched by Trabuco Hills starter Kayla Massey through the first five frames. Both pitchers notched a complete game, allowing only three hits between them.

“Runs were tough to come by today,” said Trabuco Hills head coach Erin Larsen-Webber. “I thought Kayla was outstanding, and she just made one mistake. Unfortunately, that mistake left the park.”

After fanning twice, Shults stepped to the plate with two outs in the sixth. She was focused on making a change in her approach.

“The first two times up I was under the ball, so I was thinking about staying up on top of the ball,” Shults said. “I was just trying to put the ball in play, but I got a hold of it, and that was great because I knew Destiny could make it stand up.”

Rodino took the one-run lead into the seventh, where she retired the side in order to finish the game. She tallied eight strikeouts, while Massey notched 10.

“I think we played with a good, strong attitude,” Larsen-Webber said. “We were bumped out of the playoffs by one run last year also so we need to work on finding ways to get that one more hit to win the game. We know that we are close, and we have a lot of talented girls coming back.”

Among those returning will be Massey, who posted a 0.68 ERA during the regular season.

Conversely, Rodino and Shults will both be moving on when their playoff run comes to an end.

“This was a tight game,” Calendo said. “It’s great to move on, but we know when you’re in the CIF every game is going to be tight. Today Jess came through for us like she has all year. She is such a great player, and to have a battery like the one we ran out there today gives our team the confidence that we can win these kinds of games. When you get to the playoffs, it is like every game is a season of its own.”

The solo shot was Shults’ team-leading 10th of the season, while Rodino’s effort lowered her sub-1.00 ERA and served as her 24th win of the season.

“I just relied on my defense today,” Rodino said. “It was great having Jess catching me like it always is. We knew we had to bring our top game, and it’s great to survive and advance.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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