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Prep softball: Learning on the mound

Hart is in unfamiliar position with pitching staff that possesses little varsity play

Posted: March 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Hart High shortstop Sierra Quiala (12) makes a stop on a grounder in the fourth inning against El Camino Real at Central Park in Saugus on Saturday afternoon.

The Hart varsity softball team wanted to win its own Hart varsity softball tournament after entering the final day with a semifinal matchup against Camarillo High.

But more importantly, the Indians wanted to continue to get playing experience for a pitching staff with few innings under its belt.

So, despite 7-3 losses in both the semifinal to Camarillo High and the third-place game to El Camino Real of Woodland Hills, the Indians are happy to have had the experience.

“This year, you always look to try to win a tournament,” said Hart head coach Steve Calendo. “But this year, the preseason for our team is to try to find a rhythm. The last six years, we’ve been more of an accomplished team ... Offensively, we’re there, but on the other side of the field were trying to piece it together.”

The Indians fell behind early to Camarillo in their first game of the day, as the Scorpions jumped out to a 6-0 lead off Hart pitcher Blake Lewis.

Lewis pitched three innings, with four earned runs and two strikeouts.

Katie Reed threw one inning, with two walks, a strike out and one run.

The Indians’ Juli Strange hit a 3-run home run in the fifth inning to try and pull Hart back in it, but defensive lapses and timely hitting by Camarillo proved too much to overcome.

“It was a combination,  the defense made a couple miscues, but that happens in softball,” Calendo said. “It was more Camarillo being efficient in what they do.”

It was a similar story in the third-place game with the Conquistadors.

Lewis started the game again for the Indians, and El Camino was able to take a 2-0 lead early on.

But unlike game one, the Indians came back to take a 3-2 lead on a triple by Tracy Chandless in the fourth inning.

The Conquistadors responded with five runs in the bottom half of the six to take a 7-3 lead and hung on for the victory.

With the loss, the Indians finished the Hart varsity tournament in fourth place, after reaching the championship game last season.

Despite the loss, the experience was informative, Calendo said.

“I think we’re finding out more and more about our club, and the offense is there,” Calendo said. “So, that’s not doing to bad, and the defense and pitching is coming along. And hopefully we’ll make a good run in league.”

And Lewis’ performance this season in the circle could go a long way in determining how successful Hart is.

But she won’t be the only one that needs to provide Hart with some solid innings.

Hayley Miller pitched well in relief for the Indians against El Camino, throwing four innings.

She allowed three runs in the fifth on a home run and two singles.

Katie Reed pitched the sixth inning giving up two runs on a hit and two errors.

“Miller threw very well today,” Calendo said. “If she can come through and Blake can stay consistent, we should be OK this season.”

Entering the day, the Indians’ offense had averaged 13 runs per game.

Before posting just three runs in each game on Saturday, Hart’s lowest offensive output had been 12 runs in a first-round victory in the Hart tournament over Newbury Park.

Hart will return to the diamond on Wednesday, when it hosts San Marino in a doubleheader.

Until then, the Indians will continue to learn from Saturday’s experience.

“I thought  both games were very similar in that Camarillo and El Camino took advantage of a lot of situations with their speed,” Calendo said. “It was a good experience for our team, but it was the speed of the other teams that made the difference.”


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