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CIF softball: Pure and simple

’Cats outplayed by Santiago in CIF second round

Posted: May 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch catcher Janelle Lindvall looks back at her dugout after a Santiago grand slam on Tuesday at West Ranch.

 

Every year, things become more magnified during the postseason.

But there was nothing complicated about West Ranch softball’s loss to Santiago of Corona on Tuesday.

“You can say anything you want,” said West Ranch head coach Bob Shults. “They just beat us.”

A third-inning Santiago grand slam put some distance on the scoreboard, and the Wildcats couldn’t come up with timely hits in an 8-1 loss in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs at West Ranch High School.

This marks the second straight season that the Sharks (21-9) have beaten the Wildcats in the second round of the playoffs.

This also marks the second straight season that Santiago slugger Danielle Hernandez helped them do it.

Hernandez hit a three-run home run to give Santiago the lead for good in last year’s matchup, and on Tuesday, she swatted a grand slam as part of a five-run third inning that gave Santiago a 6-1 lead.

The Wildcats (22-5-1) worked the count against Santiago starting pitcher Erica Romero, who relied heavily on the outside part of the plate. West Ranch put a runner in scoring position with one out in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

Each time, Romero and her defense promptly retired the next two batters, including a strikeout of Janelle Lindvall to end the game.

“They’re a very good team,” said Santiago head coach John Perez. “They’re scary. We got blessed with the last out.”

West Ranch starter Bailey Foster had a rough third inning, but she pitched well otherwise before giving way to freshman Lexi Sorenson. Foster went five innings and gave up all eight runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts.

“Bailey didn’t throw the best game of her life, but you can’t put it on her,” Lindvall said. “We’ve been riding one pitcher all year.”

West Ranch’s first batter of the game scored its only run of the game. Kylie Sorenson led off with a single, and in the process of stealing second, Santiago shortstop Alex Vargas couldn’t handle the throw and Sorenson took third as the ball trickled into the outfield.

Julia Lombardi laid down a sacrifice bunt to plate Sorenson and give West Ranch a 1-0 lead.

Santiago’s Randel Leahy smashed a solo home run in the second inning to tie the score, and the Sharks surged ahead in the third. Santiago scored twice more in the sixth.

“They were the better team today,” Shults said. “We didn’t get key hits. We had opportunities to make something happen.”
West Ranch won its first Foothill League title this season, and the team only loses Lindvall, Foster and Nicolette Klepfer to graduation.

“A big goal of ours was to get past the second round,” said the Oregon-bound Lindvall. “Although we didn’t do it, every year we’ve been getting better.”

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