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West Ranch softball defeats Rancho Cucamonga in playoff opener

Posted: May 16, 2013 10:05 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2013 10:05 p.m.

West Ranch's Kylie Sorenson (2) makes the out on Rancho Cucamonga's Justine McLean (21) at second base in the sixth inning at West Ranch on Thursday.

The West Ranch Wildcats softball team did their part first — then they received a little help from an unlikely ally 67 miles away.

First, the Wildcats took care of business in their first-round CIF-Southern Section Division I playoff game, defeating Rancho Cucamonga, 4-1 at West Ranch High School.

Then they got another dash of good news when wild-card entrant Foothill High of Santa Ana defeated No. 5 nationally-ranked Mater Dei.

The Wildcats (19-11 overall) were set to face the winner of the Foothill/Mater Dei matchup, meaning West Ranch will travel to Foothill on Tuesday for the second round game at 3:15 p.m.

After Wildcats pitcher Lexi Sorensen induced a pop-up to first baseman Julia Lombardi to cap a complete-game, three-hit performance with one run allowed, talk quickly turned to what West Ranch believed would be an impending matchup with Mater Dei.

Now, the road to the third round appears a little bit easier than expected, but head coach Bob Shults cautioned after learning of the Foothill/Mater Dei result that this time of year, “anyone can beat anyone.”

On Thursday, it was the Wildcats showing they were the superior team.

Rancho Cucamonga (15-10) opened the game up with a single from University of Florida-bound Justine McLean, who advanced to third on an error and was brought home on an RBI by Lauren Delgadillo.

West Ranch didn’t waste any time responding, as Sorenson led off the bottom of the first with a double and was brought home by a Lombardi RBI single to tie the score at 1-1.

“That was just the way it went. We haven’t had many situations where teams have scored first on us,” Sorenson said. “We said, ‘Let’s get that run back.’ We felt like we were back in it (when we tied the game).”

In the circle, Sorensen settled in and kept the Cougars without another hit until a single in the sixth inning.

There was an unfortunate moment in the sixth, when, after singling, McLean injured her ankle after being caught stealing second by catcher Lauren Lombardi. McLean had to be carried off the field.

“I didn’t have any mental letdown,” Sorensen said. “I know I have a solid defense behind me and we could get that run back.”

The Wildcats added to the lead in the second when Haley Hineman singled and stole second before Charlotte Romero brought her home with an RBI single. In the fifth, Keeley Walsh brought Sorenson home for a 3-1 lead and younger sister Mollie Sorenson tripled in the sixth to score Jessica Harper for the 4-1 lead.

Kylie Sorenson was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, Lombardi finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and Hineman was 2-for-3 with a run scored and two stolen bases.

“We knew they could hit. They go 10-0 in league, they’ve got clutch kids, top to bottom,” said Rancho Cucamonga head coach Mike Lindensmith.

West Ranch put runners in scoring position in all six innings, and with Sorensen coming up big in the circle, the Wildcats booked their trip to the second round.

“That’s what is so great about West Ranch. I think that’s what makes our team so good. We’re not one of those teams that has just one RBI producer,” Kylie Sorenson said.



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