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Scorpions' offense comes up short in quarterfinals
HESPERIA • Despite a downpour an hour before the game, then high winds and drizzle for most of the afternoon, visiting North Torrance shut out Hesperia 3-0 in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division IV playoffs.
Saxons (19-13) right-hander Hayley Rodriguez limited the Scorpions (17-7) to one hit and three baserunners. Rodriguez used just 78 pitches to get the job done.
“It’s not that we didn’t have our opportunities,” Hesperia coach Kelli Munoz said. “It’s just that we faced a pitcher with a good rising fastball that kept us off balance.”
The Scorpions only hit was a line drive double to right center field by leadoff batter Toni Shurtliff on a 1-2 pitch in the fourth inning. Shurtliff got to third on a sacrifice bunt by Raeven Ball, but was left stranded.
Both teams went down in order in the first three innings, but the Saxons broke through in the fourth with a walk and a bunt single. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, cleanup hitter Olivia Alvarez drove in the game’s first run with a groundout.
Scorpions starter Kelsey Byrd got out of the jam without any more damage, but that was all the offense North Torrance would need.
Hesperia mounted a threat in the sixth inning as leadoff batter Miranda Ortiz walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Ball drew a base on balls, but a ground out ended the threat.
North Torrance added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh. A pair of singles, an error and a stolen base put runners on second and third for pinch hitter Amanda Fernandez, who sent a ground ball past the dive of Hesperia shortstop Sam Beltran, scoring two runs.
“We got some timely hitting when we needed it,” North Torrance coach Howard Miller said. “Hayley pitched a great game for us and our seven seniors put in a fine performance.”
Byrd struck out three, walked one and gave up two earned runs on five hits.
N. Torrance 000 100 2 — 2 5 0
Hesperia 000 000 0 — 0 1 2
Rodriguez and Alvarez; Byrd and Roland. WP — Rodriguez (12-6). LP — Byrd (14-6). 2B — Shurtliff (H).