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Foothill League softball: No chink in Vikes’ armor

Valencia will go for 10-0

Posted: May 11, 2010 10:19 p.m.
Updated: May 12, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Valencia's Madison Shipman, bottom, slides safely into second base past Saugus' Jenna Kelly on Tuesday at Saugus High School. Valencia won the game 1-0.

 
The Valencia High School softball team is getting closer to realizing its goal of going undefeated in the Foothill League this season.

Vikings outfielder Shannon Fitzgerald’s single in the fifth inning dropped in behind third base and scored Bethany Kemp for the only run Valencia needed in its 1-0 victory against Saugus on Tuesday at Saugus High School.

“Sometimes the dinkers are part of the game and score the runs,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s nice to contribute.”

The Vikings got a strong pitching performance from Carly Mortensen, who struck out nine batters and scattered just three hits in a complete game.

“She pitched one of her best games,” said Valencia head coach Donna Lee. “She stayed ahead of the batters and when you do that, they’re at your mercy.”

Mortensen, who has the lowest ERA in the Foothill League at 1.06 and leads the league in strikeouts and wins, earned her 18th victory of the season.

“I just need to get my job done, whether its striking out nine batters or getting them to hit dinky hits,” Mortensen said.

Saugus (16-12, 4-5) only had a couple of chances to score in the game, but Valencia played good defense and had some good luck, as well.

In the fourth inning with a runner on second, Saugus pitcher Cassie Herrera hit a line drive right back at Mortensen, who reacted quickly by knocking it down with her glove. Viking third baseman Caitlin Rooney was right there to pick the ball up and make the throw to first in time for the out.

“We had a bit of bad luck,” said Saugus head coach Julie Watson. “If that ball gets through, that’s a run.”

In the sixth inning, Saugus had two on and just one out when Randi Jossett hit a line drive just inside second base. Justine Sibthorp not only made the grab, she stepped on the bag for the double play, closing out the inning and keeping Valencia’s 1-0 lead secure. 

Saugus also made some good defensive plays, most notably shortstop Jenna Kelly’s backhanded diving catch in shallow left field, robbing Valencia’s Tori Balta of a single.

Fitzgerald was 2-for-3 for Valencia with one RBI and Sibthorp was 2-for-3. The league’s top hitter, Madison Shipman was intentionally walked twice, after hitting a double on the second pitch of the game. There were two runners on base each time she was walked.

Herrera pitched a complete game for Saugus, striking out three and giving up six hits.

“Cassie was a rock on the mound. She hit all her spots, and she threw a great game,” Watson said.

Valencia (25-3-1,9-0) was playing without one of its top hitters, Megan Foglesong, who is nursing an injured knee.

“That really hurt us,” Lee said. “We hope she’s OK for playoffs.”

The Vikings have to win one more game to reach their goal of going undefeated. They will play Canyon on Thursday.

“Canyon is not going to roll over and play dead,” Lee said. “They have some incredible players and we will have to get some early runs.”

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