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Foothill League softball: Hart stays hot

Indians shake off early league losses for third straight victory

Posted: April 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Hart shortstop Juli Strange, left, tags out West Ranch third baseman Lauren Lombardi at second base in the fourth inning at West Ranch High on Tuesday. The Indians won 4-1.

Hart softball is becoming difficult to recognize.

After the beginning Foothill League play with two straight losses, the Indians have recorded three straight league victories and have won five of their last six overall.

The latest victim was West Ranch.

Hart junior Tracy Chandless’ two-RBI single keyed a four-run fourth inning, and pitcher Emili Escamilla shut down the Wildcats to win 4-1 on Tuesday at West Ranch High School.

“This is the team we have been expecting and knew we had,” Escamilla said.

The senior pitched a complete game with two strikeouts, one walk and one run on five hits for the Indians (16-8, 3-2).

The key hit for the Wildcats (15-6, 3-2) belonged to catcher Janelle Lindvall, who drove a solo home run over the right-field wall.

It was Lindvall’s 11th homer of the season.

That was all the damage league-frontrunner West Ranch could muster as baserunning miscues and poor at-bats mounted.
“A lot of it has to do with not getting key hits at the right times,” said Wildcats head coach Bob Shults. “You have to want to win. You need to do what it takes.”

That’s exactly what Hart did, particularly in the third inning.

Pinch hitter Samantha Leibman drew a two-out walk, and the Indians followed with four consecutive base hits.

Chandless’ single to center field did the most damage, driving home Leibman and right fielder Elizabeth Henry, who reached on an error to make the score 2-1.

“It definitely changed momentum,” Chandless said of the hit. “It gave us confidence. I motivated us to have high energy and keep going strong.”

Shortstop Juli Strange then singled to left field, plating catcher Brenna Carlson, and first baseman Blake Lewis’ RBI single to right scored Chandless from second for a 4-1 advantage.

That was more than enough for Escamilla, who outdueled West Ranch starter Bailey Foster the rest of the way.

Foster, who retired the first seven batters she faced and struck out the side in the second inning, allowed four runs on five hits with six strikeouts and one walk.

Wildcats shortstop Kylie Sorenson finished 2-for-3 with a double, while Carlson was 1-for-4 and threw out three baserunners. Hart only recorded one hit outside of the third inning — a single by Escamilla.

West Ranch entered the day tied for first place in league with Saugus, but dropped into a second-place tie with Hart following Tuesday’s loss.

The Centurions maintained their standing by beating Golden Valley 15-1 on Tuesday.

Valencia, meanwhile, which was tied for third entering the day, lost 1-0 to Canyon and is now even with the Cowboys for fourth place.

“Every Tuesday and Thursday for the next two weeks, I think the standings will change just a little bit,” said Indians head coach Steve Calendo.

Hart plays Canyon on Thursday, while West Ranch hosts Saugus in game pivotal to the league title race.


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