Alhambra caps off big day with 7-4 win over Keppel.
Above: Alhambra pitcher Silvia Romero. (correspondent photo by James Carbone/SXSPORTS)
By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
ALHAMBRA – The television cameras and photographers seemed to be everywhere. So was the superintendent and assistant superintendents for the Alhambra Unified School District, school administrators, Alhambra city council members, attorneys for the California Women’s Law Center and former Alhambra High School softball players.
All were in attendance for the ribbon-cutting dedication ceremony for the softball fields at Moor Field, brought about by a Title IX lawsuit filed on behalf of four former Moor softball players and settled in 2006 with the construction of the fields, which are now among the best in the West San Gabriel Valley.
All the attention – speeches, the marching band performing, the national anthem performed by Patti Alara, the pep squad leading cheers, the ribbon cutting by school principal Maria Elena Sanchez and school board member Bob Gin, and the first pitch by Alhambra PTA president Pat Mackintosh – made some Moors nervous.
“That was interesting,” Alhambra pitcher Sylvia Romero said. “We never really get that. It was pretty cool. Finally, the attention was on us. We were showing we are athletes, just like (the boys).”
But Romero’s nerves settled, and she set down visiting Keppel’s top hitters to help give the Moors a 7-4 victory on Tuesday. It was an important win because it helped Alhambra in its playoff bid, and it knocked the Aztecs out of a share of first place in the Almont League.
The Moors began using the field at the start of the softball season, and they have played eight games on it, going 5-3. The ceremonies had been delayed to get all parties to the field at the same time.
“At first, it was kind of nervous,” Romero said. “After that, we’re like, back home. This is where we play. We practice here every day, so it’s like another day at practice.”
Among the former players in attendance were Lauren Cruz and Jennifer Cerros, who have graduated but were plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
“This is a very big step not only for the school, but for the girls who will benefit in the program,” Cruz said.
Romero kept the Aztecs’ top hitters, Tiffany Rubin and Amanda Ruacho, off the basepaths, and the Moors relied on key hits and four errors to rally from a 4-2 deficit in the sixth inning.
“Sylvia was on her mark; she hit her spots,” Alhambra coach Armando Molina said. “The girls were relaxed. Yesterday we had a great practice and they were feeding off the practice.”
Romero struck out seven and was never in serious trouble after the second inning, when Keppel scored three times.
With Keppel leading 4-2, Aztecs pitcher Justine Morin started the sixth by striking out Angela Luna, but the pitch was wild and Luna reached base. Luna scored on an error with one out and Romero singled to right field.
Oliveras then hit a chopper back at Morin. It glanced off her glove to shortstop Courtney Hirose. The throw to first was not in time, the ball got away and the game was suddenly tied.
Stephanie Rodriguez then hit the ball almost exactly how Oliveras did, off Morin’s glove for a hit, to give the Moors their first lead of the game. A pair of errors contributed to the final two runs.