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Keeping the pace

Posted: May 7, 2008 2:11 a.m.
Updated: July 8, 2008 5:02 a.m.

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If the ritual that Madison Shipman and Jessica Spigner perform at the start of each inning brings them luck, its working. The duo, dubbed "9-11"  - not only for their jersey numbers - but also because they are often known for their emergency services when the Valencia softball team is in a tight spot.

Valencia called upon the duo when they found themselves down early in the game versus Saugus, but ultimately it was team effort that got them over on Tuesday on the Centurions field. The Vikings won, 14-3.

"Our ritual relaxes us," Shipman said. "Its helps us to focus on the next inning and forget what happened last inning."

Shipman, a sophomore, went 3-for-5 on the afternoon, while senior Spigner pitched a complete game, struck out five and gave up seven hits, as the Vikings kept pace with Hart for first place in the Foothill League.

Valencia trails by one-half game and must defeat West Ranch on Thursday to share the league's top spot.

Spigner has been a mainstay for Valencia this season, winning 22 of 27 games and striking out 174 batters. She also pitched nine shutouts this season and has an ERA of 0.84.

"Jessica's been a workhorse all year," said Valencia head coach Donna Lee. "She has shown a lot of resilience and has basically taken it upon herself to be our go-to pitcher."

Valencia kicked off its offense, in the third inning coming from behind 2-0.

With two outs, third base player Bethany Kemp singled after an error by the Saugus' second baseman which brought in the Vikings first run.

Valencia scored four more runs in the top of the fourth on a quartet of consecutive hits, to lead, 5-2.

Saugus looked to cool off the Vikings with relief pitcher Kelsey Christopherson in the fourth. Yet the Vikings scored four more times to take a 9-2 advantage.

An inning later, with Christopherson out of the game, Saugus brought in Danae Bobbit in to pitch. Bobbit gave up a solo home run to Spigner which extended the Valencia lead to 10-2.

Spigner was 4-for-5 with two RBIs.

In the seventh, the Centurions errors proved insurmountable as the Vikings scored their four final runs.

With the bases loaded and no outs, the Vikings scored twice when a Lelani Bernardino walk brought home Shannon Fitzgerald and Alyssa Garza scored off a sacrifice fly.

A passed ball and a Lauren Boser RBI single round out the scoring for Valencia.

For Saugus, freshman Ashley Butera belted a solo home run to center in the second; she was 1-for-4 with an RBI on the day. Nikki Daher was also solid at the plate for Saugus, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.

"We didn't show up to play," said Saugus head coach Julie Watson. "We didn't play as a team."

The Centurions still have a chance to make it to the post season, however. The team will take on Canyon in a make-up game, Thursday at home. Canyon won a protest challenge for an April 15 loss.

The William S. Hart Union High School District, which upheld Canyon's protest, rescheduled the contest for Thursday.

The winner of this game will secure third place in the league and the final playoff spot.


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