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West Ranch softball makes first quarterfinal

Wildcats rally to tie it in seventh, then wins in extra innings over Foothill High

Posted: May 21, 2013 10:43 p.m.
Updated: May 21, 2013 10:43 p.m.
 

West Ranch Wildcat Julia Lombardi hit the ball into center field for what appeared to the final out of the softball team’s season.

But the ball somehow dropped, West Ranch somehow tied the game in the seventh and then somehow won 8-4 over Foothill High of Santa Ana after nine innings on Tuesday in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs at Foothill High School.

The Wildcats will get to play their first quarterfinal playoff game in team history on Thursday.

“Bottom line is we finally got one ball to drop for once today,” said West Ranch head coach Bob Shults. “All day, it didn’t drop for us. We didn’t get any breaks.”

Lombardi’s two-out, two-run double in the seventh went off the glove of Foothill’s center fielder, allowing Mollie Sorenson and Jessica Harper to cross the plate and help send the game into extra innings with a 4-4 tie.

In the top of the ninth, the Wildcats (20-11) scored four runs to take control and pave the way for a second straight complete-game victory for sophomore pitcher Lexi Sorensen.

Lombardi also added a one-run double in the ninth to complete her 2-for-4, three-RBI day.

Also in the ninth, West Ranch’s Keeley Walsh drove in two runs with a double of her own to cap a 3-for-5 performance at the plate.

“I’m proud of them. They didn’t quit,” Shults said of his players. “We’ve been working hard in practice, a lot of little things.”

With West Ranch’s win, it earned a home game against Santiago of Corona, which beat Vista Murrieta 11-2 on Tuesday.

The Wildcats have played Santiago three previous times this season, losing on all three occasions.

Santiago, which finished second in the Big VIII League, was also the team that knocked West Ranch out of the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.

But based on Tuesday’s performance, Shults said his team is moving in the right direction.

“If I had to give a game ball out today, I couldn’t give one out,” Shults said. “I couldn’t pick one kid. It’s be a team effort.”

The Wildcats got started against Foothill (18-13) with a Kylie Sorenson home run to lead off the game for a 1-0 lead.

Foothill answered right back with two runs in the bottom of the first to take a 2-1 advantage.

West Ranch tied it up 2-2 in the third when Lauren Lindvall scored from third base on a double steal while teammate Megan Ernst was caught in a rundown between first and second base.

Again, though, Foothill took the upper hand with two runs in the fifth to make it a 4-2 score and set up the drama in the seventh inning.

“The girls didn’t react,” Shults said of playing from behind. “They kept their composure and came up with a couple of really big outs.”

In the circle, Sorensen battled at times, but got the job done thanks partly to a strong defensive effort by the Wildcats. Sorensen allowed seven hits and two walks to go with six strikeouts.

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