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Foothill League softball: ’Cats make right changes

West Ranch’s win creates three-way tie for first place

Posted: April 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

West Ranch head softball coach Bob Shults knew he needed to make a change after his team’s loss to Hart on Tuesday.

Not only did that change work, it threw yet another wrench into a convoluted Foothill League race.

Wildcats pitcher Bailey Foster two-hit first-place Saugus with catcher Janelle Lindvall calling pitches for the first time all season in a 2-0 win on Thursday at West Ranch High School.

“I went to bed after the (Hart) game saying, ‘You know what, they are young, and I need to let them start playing their game,’” Shults said. “‘Just stay out of their way.’”

In an effort to give the players more responsibility and self-reliance, the third-year head coach’s new mentality translated into a more player-run practice Wednesday and Lindvall running the show behind the plate Thursday, Shults said.

The Idaho State-bound Foster was virtually lights-out in response, striking out seven batters and shutting out Saugus for the first time all season.

“I think we played as a team and had a good mental mind-set,” Foster said. “I knew I had a good defense behind me, and I trusted them.”

The Centurions (19-5, 4-2) came into Thursday averaging 11 runs per league contest, and one game ahead of West Ranch (16-6, 4-2) and Hart in the standings.

“They got the timely hits, and we didn’t,” said Saugus head coach Julie Watson. “You have to bring your ‘A’ game in this league. You can’t have your ‘B’ or ‘C.’”

The Wildcats did come up with timely hits to overcome a strong performance by Centurions sophomore pitcher Alana Layton. Layton had five strikeouts and gave up two earned runs on six hits and one walk. She shut out West Ranch 1-0 on March 31 in the championship game of the High Desert Classic.

But the Wildcats opened up a 1-0 lead Thursday in the bottom of the third. With one out, shortstop Kylie Sorenson recorded the first of her two doubles on the day. Lauren Lindvall then grounded out to short, and hard-hitting Janelle Lindvall was intentionally walked to get to Lauren Lombardi.

Lombardi responded by sending a single to right field that scored Sorenson, who beat the throw to home plate.

“I didn’t do well last time (we played them), and I think they thought, ‘Walk the better hitter and get me out,’” Lombardi said. “I came in confident and just wanted to make sure I did my job and get the run in.”

Janelle Lindvall tacked on West Ranch’s second run with an RBI single to right field in the fifth to score Sorenson, who doubled off the top of the left-field wall to lead off the inning. Lauren Lindvall advanced Sorenson with a well-executed sacrifice bunt before Janelle Lindvall added the insurance.

Sorenson finished 3-for-3.

Saugus first baseman Sara Shier batted 1-for-2.

Centurion Jenna Kelly was 1-for-3 with a leadoff double in the seventh, and Shier was hit by a pitch with no outs in the inning. Foster remained calm and retired the next three batters in order to end the game.

After Thursday, Saugus, West Ranch and Hart are all tied for first place with a 4-2 league record. The Indians beat Canyon 3-2.

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