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Patriots roll through second round
HESPERIA • The Hesperia Christian softball team lived up to its No. 1 seeding in the CIF-Southern Section Division VII playoffs with a convincing 17-2 victory over St. Genevieve on Tuesday.
Sierra Rick (22-1), fresh off her perfect game in the Patriots’ first-round victory, allowed just two hits against the visiting Valiants. Rick struck out 13, walked two and hit a batter.
Rick needed 107 pitches to get the job done and didn’t allow an earned run. St. Genevieve’s scores came in the first and seventh inning due to errors.
“I thought we played well as a team,” Hesperia Christian coach Christy Newman said. “We hit the ball hard. We had a few errors toward the end that cost us a run. In the first inning there was another error. These are the things we need to build upon. When the games get closer against tougher opponents we can’t have those kind of plays.”
The Agape League champion Patriots (22-1) looked shaky early, allowing an unearned run in the top of the first inning. It came on a one-out walk to Karen Ponce, who promptly stole second and advanced to third on a fielding error by second baseman Helena Harrity. Ponce then scored on an infield groundout by Stephanie David.
The Patriots then scored 17 unanswered runs in the first through sixth innings on 19 hits. HCS sent 10 batters to the plate in both the second and fifth innings.
“I was proud of our girls’ hitting and the job they did at the plate,” Newman said.
Among the 19 hits by the Patriots, eight were for extra bases.
Every starter in the Patriots lineup had at least one hit. Laura Acosta, batting in the eighth spot, went 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and two RBIs. Catcher Hannah Morin also went 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and a sacrifice fly.
Rick aided her cause by going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI.
Jackie Becerra scored twice running for Morin and Britni Fowler scored three times running for Rick.
In the bottom of the first, after giving up the unearned run to St. Genevieve (11-5), the Patriots scored three runs, two of which were unearned, to take the lead for good.
Leadoff hitter Ashley McCloud reached first on an infield single to shortstop that took a bad hop, and she went to third on a groundout to second.
Morin hit a fly ball to center field deep enough to score McCloud. With two outs, Rick blooped a single to right. Harrity then grounded to third, but the third baseman’s throw was high and Fowler scored all the way from first. Harrity went to third on the misplay and then came home on an errant throw from right field.
The Patriots scored five more in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth and sixth in the fifth before Valiants pitcher Christina Martinez got them out in order in the sixth.
From the middle of the first inning until the top of the sixth, Rick struck out nine of the 15 Valiants batters she retired.
“Pitching, pitching and pitching was the name of the game. They are blessed to have a terrific pitcher,” St. Genevieve coach Marlon Archey said. “Rick is awesome. Best pitcher we’ve faced all year long and you can’t win a game if you can’t get people on base. We just weren’t able to do that today.”
St. Gen. 100 000 1 — 2 0 4
HCS 351 260 X — 17 19 2
Martinez and Ponce; Rick and Morin. WP — Rick (22-1). LP — Martinez (11-5). 2B — Morin 2, Rick 2, McCloud, Acosta, Rosales (H). 3B — Acosta (H).