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West Ranch softball defeats Valencia for two-game lead in standings

Posted: April 23, 2013 10:39 p.m.
Updated: April 23, 2013 10:39 p.m.

West Ranch's Kylie Sorenson beats the throw to third base and goes on to score as Valencia shortstop Wendy Cardinali chases down a loose ball on Tuesday at Valencia.

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West Ranch Wildcats head coach Bob Shults has repeatedly said this season isn’t about defending the team’s Foothill League title.

But focus on a Foothill League title or not, it’s squarely in the Wildcats sights now after an unlikely hero came through for West Ranch on Tuesday, and put the rest of the league in a tight spot.

No. 8 hitter Charlotte Romero capped a 3-for-4 day with a two-RBI double in the top of the seventh to break a tie score in an eventual 6-3 victory over Valencia at Valencia High School.

Romero stepped up to the plate with the score tied 2-2 with two runners on and one out.

As she settled into the box, she watched the Valencia defense take a few steps forward, and promptly swung away, sending the ball into center field for a double.

“It was so much pressure, so many things were going through my mind,” Romero said. “I was just thinking we have to have this.”

With the win, West Ranch sits at 5-0 through the first half of Foothill League play, 13-11 overall, and already holds something it never had during its 2012 title run — a two-game lead in the standings.

“These girls can’t get too full of themselves,” warned West Ranch head coach Bob Shults. “Valencia, Saugus, Hart, Canyon, Golden Valley, they can all beat us. We’re 5-0 now, but could be 5-5 at the end of the season.”

The Wildcats were cruising along through the first five innings on Tuesday, with sophomore pitcher Lexi Sorensen in the circle.

After allowing the first two batters of the game to reach, Sorensen sat down the next 12 straight batters.

She finished the game with seven innings pitched, three runs allowed and six strikeouts.

The Vikings (13-9, 3-2)found a hero of their own in the sixth, though, when shortstop Wendy Cardinali sent a two-run home run to left-center to tie the score at 2-2.

“This game is hard for us,” said Cardinali, who was left standing in the on deck circle with the tying runs on base in the seventh inning. “We came out yesterday saying ‘We need to beat West Ranch. We can hit this pitcher.’”

But the Wildcats’ four-run seventh sealed the deal, as Mollie Sorenson picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly and Lauren Lindvall knocked in the final West Ranch run after Romero’s heroics.

Valencia’s Sydney Mundell took the loss, pitching seven innings and allowing six runs, while striking out four and stranding 11 West Ranch base runners.

The Vikings made things interesting in the bottom half, as freshman Ally Johnson brought home Brittany Ross-Smith on a single to right. But Sorensen got pinch-hitter Rachel Ross-Smith to fly out with two runners on to end the game.

 

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