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Just a different day

Rodino’s brilliance, Shults’ big hit propel Hart to CIF-SS Div. I semis

Posted: May 28, 2009 9:38 p.m.
Updated: May 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
The dynamic duo of Destiny Rodino and Jessica Shults struck again for Hart softball in the CIF-Southern Section Division I Playoffs, pacing the Indians to a 1-0 win over Esperanza Thursday at Newhall Park thanks to a no-hitter from Rodino and an RBI double from Shults.

The no-hitter stretched Rodino’s scoreless postseason streak to 21 innings, while propelling Hart into the CIF-SS Div. I semifinals.

“It’s exciting,” Rodino said of the Indians advancing with their third straight 1-0 win. “This was a good team win for us, and I give all the credit to our defense.”

However, Hart (27-4) did make a pair of errors, which cost Rodino the chance of hurling a perfect game. The Hart left-hander muffed a comebacker to the mound to allow Esperanza’s lead-off hitter Kristen Sharkey to reach first to open the game.

“She kept our hitters off balance and put the ball where she wanted to,” said Esperanza’s head coach Ed Tunstall. “You could tell she was doing everything she wanted to.”

Hart’s lead-off hitter also reached on an error when Melissa Brown hit a looping liner that Esperanza’s Brittany Virgoe couldn’t handle.

Brown took second on a sacrifice bunt from Allison Lewis before Shults stepped to the plate with one out.

Shults then slugged a ball into the left-center field gap that bounced over the wall for an RBI ground rule double.

“We got the hit when we needed,” said Hart head coach Steve Calendo. “Sometimes it comes in the first, sometimes it comes later. Either way Destiny made it stand up.”

Rodino was nearly matched by Alexis Borden, who pitched well for Esperanza (19-14) by allowing only three hits on the day while striking out three.

Still, Rodino was almost untouchable, getting 13 Aztecs to go down on strikes.

“We came in with a game plan at the plate, but we just couldn’t make it happen,” Tunstall said. “We got a great game from Alexis, but when you get to this point in the playoffs you know you’re going to face some real quality pitching. We ran into a very talented girl today.”

Rodino closed out the game emphatically by striking out the side in the sixth and seventh inning to nail down the win.

“I mean, there isn’t much else that you can say about Destiny other than that she was simply awesome,” Calendo said. “I wish we could get her more runs, but we have gotten her three to get three wins. We are just focused on surviving and advancing, and we need to keep playing solid defense.”

The win will pit Hart against familiar foe Norco on Tuesday at Norco. The teams have played each other in the postseason each of the last three years, with Norco taking two of the three.

“This is like our big rivalry game,” Rodino said. “Ever since I have been here we have run into them in the playoffs so it would great to beat them again.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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