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Vikings earn late payback

Posted: May 2, 2008 2:18 a.m.
Updated: July 3, 2008 5:02 a.m.

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Finally, the ball rolled Valencia's way.

And even when it started to veer toward Hart, the Vikings made sure there would be no seventh inning heroics from the Indians.

After losing to the Hart softball team in their first meeting in a dramatic seventh inning Indian comeback, Valencia (22-5, 7-1) bounced back and squeezed past Hart (20-4, 8-1) 2-1 Thursday afternoon at Newhall Park.

"We finally got the breaks. Maybe they are going to go our way now," said Valencia head coach Donna Lee. "It is a game of inches and we got the inches today. We make our inches if we play hard."

After two scoreless innings, the Vikings created a scoring opportunity in the third, and this time Valencia made the most of it.

Viking catcher Amy Moore led off the third inning with a single to right and advanced to second when Caitlin Rooney made it safely to first thanks to an error by Hart shortstop Melissa Brown.

Still with no outs, Alyssa Garza laid down a bunt to Indian pitcher Destiny Rodino who picked up the ball only to find no one covering first.

Instead of one out and two on, the Vikings loaded the bases with no outs.

"We didn't play like we were capable of in that inning," said Hart head coach Steve Calendo. "We had a physical error and a mental error and if you play a good team like that and make errors, they are going to make you pay and they did."

To be specific, it was Madison Shipman that made Hart pay.

Shipman rolled the first pitch she saw from Rodino right back into center field easily plating Moore and Rooney for a 2-0 Valencia lead.

Then, the Indians recovered to stave off an even bigger inning.

Center fielder Devon Lindvall threw the ball into the infield where Rodino cut off the throw and immediately tossed the ball to second to get Shipman trying to advance.

Brown tagged out Shipman and promptly threw the ball home to get Garza trying to score on the throw and was tagged out by catcher Jessica Shults.

The double play ended the threat, but Shipman had done more than enough damage.

"I just went up there knowing I needed to get a hit," Shipman said. "I was just trying to stay relaxed and I got the job done."

Valencia pitcher Jessica Spigner then cruised throughout the next three innings until finally the Indian offense began to show signs of life in the seventh.

Lindvall led off the seventh by crushing a 1-1 Spigner offering deep into right center field for a solo home run and a brand new ballgame, bringing Hart within one at 2-1.

"We never quit. We never thought we were out of it," Calendo said. "Jessica made some great throws, though, with runners on base and she did it again there in the seventh and she got us."

After an infield single by Christie Lincoln with one out, Spigner retired the next two in order to finish off a complete game three-hitter and a Valencia victory.

"It is a great feeling (to beat Hart)," Spigner said. "They got us last time at our place, and this is just great. We came through, we executed and Maddy (Shipman) came through for us."

Now, the Vikings retake a share of first place with the Indians and turn their attention to the final two games of the season where no team will be taken lightly.

"(Before the game) I told them we are winning this for the last seven teams and we need to keep this going," Lee said.

"But we aren't there yet. We have to readjust our focus for Saugus on Tuesday and then prepare for West Ranch. This is far from over."

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