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Foothill League softball: Small-ball does it

West Ranch defeats Saugus on a walk-off infield hit

Posted: April 13, 2010 10:19 p.m.
Updated: April 14, 2010 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch pitcher Amanda Martin winds up against Saugus Tuesday afternoon at West Ranch High.

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The West Ranch and Saugus softball teams couldn’t produce a run on a ball hit to the outfield on Tuesday in both teams’ Foothill League opener. Instead it took the smallest ground ball to produce the game’s deciding run.

West Ranch topped Saugus 2-1 Tuesday afternoon at West Ranch High by scratching across a run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“All through the game we just kept needing one more run and we finally got it in the end,” said West Ranch’s Kylie Sorenson, who scored the winning run.

The Wildcats (12-3-1, 1-0) got on the board first with two hits in the second off of Centurions starting pitcher Kimmie Lockhart.

After that, West Ranch pitcher Amanda Martin kept the Centurions in check, however. Some solid defense and missed chances from Saugus (11-7, 0-1) helped her cause.

“We made a few base running errors and could not get the timely hits,” said Saugus head coach Julie Watson. “We were hitting all game long, just not at the right times.”

One of those base-running errors came in the first when leadoff batter Abby Linn was picked off of second base by catcher Janelle Lindvall. One batter later Jenna Kelly ripped a double to right field that would have scored Linn, but instead came with the bases empty and plated no runs.

Martin was lights out after that point.

In fact, Martin had no choice but to be lights out for the Wildcats as West Ranch was down to only one pitcher because the CIF-Southern Section ruled its other pitcher, Bailey Foster, inelligible due to a paperwork snafu. Head coach Bob Shults said he wasn’t sure who was going to start the game until the paperwork issue surfaced. At that point, he had no choice.

“I just go with my gut feeling when picking who is going to start,” Shults said. “But being the only pitcher available, (Martin) was going to start and finish this game with the rock in her hand.”

Martin didn’t disappoint, going the distance, allowing six hits, striking out three.

Sorenson started the dramatics in the seventh with a single to right. Alex Gaff followed with a single to center and all of a sudden West Ranch was in business when both players advanced a base on a late throw from center field. Lindvall was then intentionally walked, setting up the final heroics for Lauren Lombardi.

With Sorenson running on contact, Lombardi dribbled a slow grounder up the third base line allowing Sorenson just enough time to beat the throw home, giving the Wildcats the 2-1 win.

With the win, West Ranch left the field with more than just an undefeated start to Foothill League play.

“This gives us a lot of confidence going forward,” Sorenson said. “Saugus is a really great team and it just lets us know we’re as good as everyone else out there now.”

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