SOFTBALL: Alverno falls to Paraclete

Alverno’s season came to an end in a 2-0 loss to Paraclete in Lancaster.

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Above: Alverno’s Amanda Mowrey is picked off of second base against Paraclete High School during the Jaguars’ 2-0 loss at Lancaster City Park in Lancaster.(Correspondent photo by Larry Goren/Sports)

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
Amanda Mowrey of Alverno High School is picked off of second base against Paraclete High School during Alverno’s 2-0 loss at Lancaster City Park in Lancaster, May 22, 2008. (Correspondent photo by Larry Goren/Sports) LANCASTER – Road games are part of the ordeal en route to CIF-Southern Section championships.
For that reason, But for once,the Alverno High School softball team probably wishes it was at home in Thursday’s CIF-SS Division VI quarterfinal against Paraclete.
The game definitely would have been delayed until probably today, or the Jaguars at least would have played without the sun in sight.
There was rain, hail and lightning in Sierra Madre, but there was only sun and wind, coupled with some mid-game raindrops at Lancaster Park’s Big 8 Softball Complex. And it was the sun that did in the Jaguars’ bid for a third consecutive berth in the CIF-SS semifinals. Right fielder Michelle Estrada lost a ball in the sun and the host Spirits scored the game’s lone runs on the playfor a 2-0 victory.
There were runners on first and second in the third inning when cleanup hitter Ashley Shirk hit a high pop-up to right field. Estrada ran forward, backed up and then ran to her left to get under the ball.
With her body contorted, she awkwardly got her glove on the ball for a potential third out, but it popped out and both runners scored.
“It had to be that one time,” Estrada said.
Neither team pieced together a series of hits except in that inning.
Katie Anderus hit a bloop single and, after a foul out, Mandi Dale hit a slow roller that just got by first baseman Barbara Parker and second baseman Amanda Mowrey for a hit. Pitcher Michelle Escamilla got a strikeout and had a full count on Shirk when she jammed the right-hander, who popped it up to right field.
“Things happen,” Alverno coach Frank Russo said. “One tough inning and a few mistakes here and there. It was a good game. What can you do? Unfortunately it happened the way it did, all at the wrong time.”
Paraclete’s victory was redemption from last year, when Alverno defeated the Spirits in the quarterfinals, 4-0, in a game played in the San Gabriel Valley.
“It feels awesome to come back and beat them,” Paraclete pitcher Ashley Shurley said. “We brought it back home and we played how we know how to play. We were so excited to play against them because of last year, because it was the rematch of our entire season.”
Shurley kept the Jaguars off-balance for most of the game. She gave up a walk to start the game, but Lauren Sanchez was caught stealing, one of two times Alverno was caught off base, and the Jaguars did not reach base again until the fourth when Mowrey doubled. But she then was picked off.
Shurley struck out only two and got most of her outs on infield grounders and popups. She scattered four hits.
“Our plan was at the beginning to keep them off-balance with off-speed pitches and stuff like that,” Shurley said. “I threw a lot of off-speed curves and change-ups. Then, we got the timely hits when we needed them. I had the perfect defense behind me and my pitching rotations was working perfectly.”
Escamilla wasn’t quite as consistent, but she was equally as good, gettinggot out of trouble with big strikeouts. Amanda Perez tripled in the first inning with two outs, but Escamilla got one of her eight strikeouts to end the threat. Paraclete left five runners on base.
Alverno’s best chance at getting to Shurley was in the sixth. Estrada bunted for a single and was sacrificed to second base. Sanchez walked, but the Jaguars hit back-to-back grounders to third baseman Kaci Kelly to stymie any threats.
“When we got our hits, it didn’t seem like they came together,” said Escamilla, who singled in the fifth and was left at second base. “We got hits here and there. They got their hits right after each other.”