Above: Whittier Christian defeated Tample City 2-1 in a CIF-SS softball playoff game at Whittier Christian High School in La Habra. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger/Sports)
Tuesday’s Second Round
Whittier Christian 2, Temple City 1
North Torrance 5, South Pasadena 0
Alverno 10, Rosamond 2
Calvary Murrieta at San Gabriel Mission, 3:15 p.m.
By Roger Murray, Staff Writer
LA HABRA — Courtney McGee pitched a no-hitter and Natalie Sanchez doubled to drive in the deciding run to lead Whittier Christian to a 2-1 victory over visiting Temple City in a CIF Southern Section, Division VI softball second-round playoff game Tuesday.
The win moved the Heralds (19-8-1) into Thursday’s quarterfinals against the winner of No. 1-seeded Torrance and Silverado.
Temple City, the Rio Hondo League champion and ranked No. 9 in the final regular season poll, finishes its season with a 19-7-1 record.
Whittier Christian broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning when Julianna Bohlen reached on a one-out bunt single, advnaced to second a wild pitch and rode home on Sanchez’s line drive over left-fielder Jessica Loiacano’s head.
“I was just looking to make contact, but I like an inside pitch,” said Sanchez, who got one from reliever Melissa Vega. Vega took the loss and Sanchez’s clutch hit more than made up for the two errors she made in the second inning that put McGee in a one-out jam.
McGee responded with a strikeout and an infield out to escape the trouble.
“I wasn’t nervous early in the game” Sanchez said. “I think I got caught up in trying to make the out too quickly.”
It didn’t phase McGee.
“I just had to relax and do my thing,” said the Herald sophomore, who now has given up just one hit in her last 14 2/3 innings going back to the seventh inning in a 3-0 win over Saddleback Valley Christian in the regular season finale.
“Today was a good day for me. I hit my spots, and I had control of all my pitches.”
The day was a different story Temple City ace Kaitlin Ellingsworth.
The Rams’ senior left-hander gave up four hits, struck out two and walked two before giving way to Vega with the tying run in, two runners on and two outs in the third inning.
“I felt good, but I think (as a team) we were really tight,” Ellingsworth said. “I’m disappointed. It wasn’t the way I wanted my last high school game to end.”
Ellingsworth, also was involved in what could be considered the game’s turning point.
Hannah Komai worked McGee for a leadoff walk in the third inning, and Whittier Christian third baseman Jill Myers misplayed Alex Aguirre-Chavez’s routine ground ball, and McGee picked up and dropped Ashley Perez’s sacrifice bunt for errors that loaded the bases.
Veronica Grant followed with a ground ball to second baseman Robekah Kikuchi, who took too long to get the throw to the plate and Komai scored for a 1-0 lead.
Ellingsworth then ripped a vicious line drive to Kikuchi, who made the catch and doubled up Grant, who broke from first and couldn’t return in time.
“We had an opportunity there to make something happen, to break it open,” Rams coach Bob Ellingsworth said. “Bases loaded, one run in, nobody out, and then the line shot. We had our (Nos.) 3-4-5 batters coming up, and then the line rocket, and suddenly there’s two outs.”
From then on, it was pretty much all McGee.
She faced the minimum 15 batters the rest of the way, with only a walk to Grant to lead off the sixth inning. Grant, who advanced to second on a ground out, was then cut down at third on a delayed steal attempt as catcher Ashley Binion fired the ball back to McGee, who calmly threw to Aguirre-Chavez for the tag on Grant to end the inning.
“Their pitcher moved the ball around, although I don’t think she was hitting her spots like she wanted,” Ellingsworth said. “”We’re usually a very good hitting team, but we started chasing the outside pitches.”
Another key for Whittier Christian was Danelle Zapien’s two-out, ground single that scored Sanchez with the tying run in the fourth.
She had tried to bunt for a base hit but the ball rolled foul on the previous pitch.
With Sanchez on third, she came right back and grounded the ball between first baseman Jessica Kosharek and second baszeman Perez and then won the race to first base before right-fielder Komai could get off a throw to Kosharek.
“It actually was a hit-and-run,” Zapien said. “I had been having a really bad season so far, so the coaches have had me practicing hit-and-run. This game I actually felt good doing it.”
Coach Dale Van Duyn lauded Zapien saying, “That was a clutch hit. She’s been struggling, but I know she has the talent. Her confidence has skyrocketed this past week.”
Alverno 10, Rosamond 2
It takes awhile for Alverno High School to get going. But once the Jaguars find their rhythm, they have been rolling.
“For some reason, it takes us twice through the lineup,” coach Frank Russo said. “Unfortunately, it gives me gray hairs.”
Russo did not have to worry until the fourth inning on Tuesday. Alverno, tied 2-2, scored three runs in the fourth inning en route to a 10-2 victory over Rosamond at the Glendale Sports Complex to send the Jaguars to Thursday’s quarterfinals against Paraclete.
Paraclete defeated Oxford Academy, 4-3, in nine innings. The game will be played in Lancaster.
“We did pretty well later in the game,” Russo said.
“In the beginning, we were swinging at a lot of balls not in the strike zone. We stopped swinging at bad pitches.”
With one out in the fourth, the Jaguars, 22-3. had a hit sacrifice, walk and Amanda Mowrey broke the tie with a two-run single. Sara Trevino doubled in a run.
Michelle Escamilla struck out 15 for Alverno. Her two-run triple tied the game in the third inning.