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Hart faces familiar roadblock

Hart and Norco to meet in the CIF-SS Div. I playoffs for fourth straight year

Posted: June 1, 2009 10:26 p.m.
Updated: June 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Hart senior pitcher Destiny Rodino throws against Moorpark High on May 26 in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs.

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Norco head softball coach Rick Robinson puts it this way.

His team pencils Hart into its schedule. It just doesn't know exactly when the game will take place.

For the past three seasons, the two schools have met in the CIF-Southern Section Division I softball playoffs.

They meet again when the Indians (27-4) travel to Norco (30-2) to play the Cougars today at Norco High at 3:15 p.m. in the semifinals.

Norco ended Hart's season last year in the quarterfinals in a 1-0 pitchers' duel.

The Indians got the best of the Cougars in 2007 en route to the Division I championship game, which Hart lost to Valencia.

Norco also ended Hart's 2006 season in the playoffs.

"They know us and we know them so it's going to be a game where both teams are familiar with the other team's pitcher," said Hart head coach Steve Calendo.

That's one of the major keys to this game - pitching.

Norco will throw out its ace in Stanford-bound Teagan Gerhart and Hart will throw out UCLA-bound Destiny Rodino.

"In my opinion, these are the two best pitchers in the division," Robinson said.

Gerhart has been extremely tough on batters in her senior season.

She is 25-2 with a 0.37 ERA. In 16 of her 28 appearances, she has not surrendered a run.

This could be a problem for Hart as all three of its playoff wins have been 1-0 games.

But Calendo downplays that fact.

"The way Destiny's throwing and the defense is playing, I don't see any reason why we can't (win another 1-0 game)," Calendo says.

A couple of years ago, when Hart managed to pull off upset after upset to get to the Division I championship game, Calendo was more of a tactician.

This Hart team, though, has more experience, leaving Calendo to say that he no longer has to gamble as much.

Nonetheless, in a seemingly close game, Hart might have to pull out some tricks to get past the Cougars.

"We will be a little more aggressive (today)," Calendo said. "There are not many more opportunities."

Offensively for Robinson's team, scoring runs has not been a problem. The Cougars have outscored playoff opponents 15-2.

Robinson said 11 different players have contributed game-winning RBIs this season.

Junior outfielder Nicole Sappingfield is the team's leading offensive producer, batting .457 with 20 RBIs.


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