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Survive and advance

Posted: May 17, 2008 2:44 a.m.
Updated: July 18, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Hart High's starting pitcher #13 Destiny Rodino in the first inning vs. Pacifica High in the first round of playoffs. Hart beat Pacifica High in the first round of playoffs. Hart beat Pacifica 5-2 at Hart High.

 

Sure it's a dated motto, but in Hart softball's case, it was apropos Friday.

The old "survive and advance" credo from last season's run to the CIF-Southern Section Division I title game.

The Indians survived Friday against 20-win Pacifica of Oxnard in the first round of the Division I softball playoffs with a 6-2 victory at home.

Now they advance to play the winner of the Mater Dei-Royal game.

Hart (24-4) survived despite playing most of the game without the lead.

Ace starter Destiny Rodino didn't have her best stuff and Pacifica starter Casey Beighley was racking up strikeouts.

But the Indians broke through in the bottom of the fifth inning when the 20-5 Tritons' defense combusted.

The Indians mounted a two-out rally with the game tied 1-1.

With two on, Indians left fielder Heather Zimmerman battled back from a 1-2 count.

With the count full and Zimmerman facing the eighth pitch of the at-bat, she thought: "Do whatever it takes for the team."

She chopped a Beighley pitch to second baseman Tatiana Alcala who charged and tried to short-hop it.

She misplayed the grounder and two Hart runs scored to give the Indians a 3-1 lead.

"This time of year you have to focus. You have to take advantage when you get situations," said Hart head coach Steve Calendo.

Hart did it so well last year, upsetting two nationally ranked teams on its way to the Division I title game - a contest the Indians would lose to cross-town rival Valencia 1-0.

The Indians took advantage again Friday in the bottom of the sixth with three more runs.

The first came off an error at shortstop from an Alexis Caso grounder.

The final pair came from a two-RBI single from Melissa Brown to give Hart a 6-1 cushion.

But early on it didn't seem like Hart would be on its way to a comfortable victory.

Rodino allowed a single to leadoff hitter Shayna Kimbrough then walked Alcala. Two batters later, Janai Shaw plated Kimbrough with a single.

Beighley, Pacifica's first NCAA Division I player (Delaware State) ever, retired the first three batters she saw, striking out two of them. She struck out eight batters in 5 1/3 innings.

But a walk in the second to Jessica Shults set up the first blemish.

An error advanced pinch runner Brenna Carlson to second base, then Devon Lindvall knocked her in with a single to tie the game 1-1.

Rodino, a future Division I pitcher herself (UCLA), held strong until her team got the lead.

She surrendered a run in the seventh off Kimbrough's third hit of the game, but managed to strand runners at first and second to end the game.

"I think probably our youth," said Pacifica head coach Dave Fox of the difference in the game. "The lack of experience against good competition."

Now Hart's battle-tested for the ride and they have another dated motto to live by: "One game at a time," Zimmerman said.

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