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Foothill League softball: ’Cats cap off stellar week

West Ranch outscored Saugus, Valencia 17-0 in two wins

Posted: April 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch’s Janelle Lindvall is tagged out by Valencia’s Nicole Joseph at third on Thursday at Valencia High.

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West Ranch pitcher Bailey Foster knew it was just a matter of time before her teammates put some runs on the board — after all, they’ve averaged 11.4 runs per game in Foothill League play.

But as it turned out, she only needed one.

With the Wildcats completely shut down at the plate for four innings, Foster blanked the Valencia offense before West Ranch scored twice in the fifth and sixth to defeat the Vikings 4-0 on Thursday at Valencia High.

The Wildcats (16-3-1 overall, 5-1 Foothill League) entered the game in a three-way tie for first place in the Foothill League with Saugus and Valencia, and the win capped off an impressive week that saw West Ranch defeat Saugus and Valencia by a combined score of 17-0.

That’s a far cry from the 4-0 loss the Wildcats suffered to Valencia (17-8, 4-2) in the first league game of the season.

“Our energy was higher (today),” Foster said. “Our team really played together and we’re extremely different (from earlier this season). Our team has completely changed their attitude. We know we have to stay humble and dig deep.”

After having no runners reach base through four innings, the Wildcats broke up Valencia pitcher Carly Mortensen’s perfect game in the fifth with a double by Keeley Walsh.

After an error by shortstop Wendy Cardinali put runners on first and second with one out, sophomore Jenny Metcalf broke the tie with a two-RBI double.

West Ranch added two more runs in the sixth after Kylie Sorenson reached on another error, and Janelle Lindvall knocked in two with a double down the left-field line.

“We should have taken advantage of their mistakes early on,” said Valencia head coach Donna Lee. “They took advantage of our mistakes and we didn’t take advantage of theirs.”

And Valencia certainly had its opportunities.

The Vikings had runners on first and second with one out in the first, but Foster rebounded to strike out Karlie Habitz and induce a flyout from Nicole Joseph to end the inning.

Valencia left four runners on base through the first three innings, including a leadoff double by Sarah Solano in the second.

That had little effect on Mortensen, though, who kept a perfect game going through four innings that included a home run-robbing catch in center field by Tawni O’Brien off the bat of Hailey Hineman.

Mortensen went on to pitch seven innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out 11 in the loss.

But while Mortensen was overpowering the Wildcats’ offense, Foster continued to play her game, pitching to contact and getting easy outs.

“It’s good to see that look in Bailey’s eye,” Lindvall said. “To not let (Mortensen) intimidate her. It’s not a competition with Carly.”

And Foster only got better once the run support came, sitting down 10 consecutive batters to end the game.

She pitched seven innings, allowing four hits and a walk, while striking out six in a winning effort.

“Bailey, personally, she’s been working her tail off. Me and her, we’ve been working on less — less is more — she’s got that mental mindset that she’s ready to hit her spots. Bailey looks sharp,” Lindvall said.

The win means West Ranch is in control of its own destiny in its search for the program’s first Foothill League title.

The Wildcats hold a one-game lead over Valencia, and will play Saugus  in the season finale on May 10.

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