By Nathan Cambridge, Correspondent
ALHAMBRA – The Schurr High School softball team seized control of the top spot in the Almont League with a 7-4 victory over host Keppel on Tuesday afternoon.
“We’ve been preaching that we can control our destiny,” Schurr coach Jackie Montanez said. “It needs to be us. It needs to be us in control, and they came focused.”
The Spartans (14-9, 6-1) are now the only Almont league team with only one loss.
For Keppel (12-6, 5-2), it was the second league defeat this season, with both coming against Schurr.
Both pitchers went the distance in the circle and hit a home run for their respective squads.
Spartans hurler Jacklyn Zacarias struck out five and scattered nine hits for the win. She pitched out of trouble repeatedly as the Aztecs left 10 runners on base, with at least one in every inning. The sophomore also hit a two-run home run into the right-center-field gap as part of a three-run fourth inning to give Schurr its first lead of the contest.
“(Zacarias) was tremendous today,” Montanez said. “Our other two pitchers are hurt right now, so she is really the only one we have in the circle and she’s been throwing a lot for us. She’s been getting stronger as the game went on, and she was able to get out of some tough jams.”
Aztecs pitcher Alashanee Medina struck out seven and gave up 10 hits, but five of them were of the infield variety. The junior’s strong effort in the circle was also marred by five Keppel errors. Three of those mistakes came in the last two innings and directly led to four late runs after the game was tied 3-3 after five innings.
“I’m proud of Shanee. She did her thing,” Keppel coach Bobby Madrid said. “We obviously let her down again throwing the ball around.”
Medina also excelled at the plate, going 3 for 3 with a home run, a walk and two runs scored. Her home run in the first inning hugged the left- field line and bounced all the way to the backstop of the junior variety’s game on an adjacent field before the Schurr outfielder retrieved it.
“We told (Medina), `You are going to have to be solid at the bat, too,’ because she can hit the ball with the best of them in our league,” Madrid said. “Its a tough one, but we’ll bounce back.”
The Aztecs play three more league games. Last year, Keppel’s only two league losses came against Schurr, which won the title with a 10-0 record.
The Spartans’ next game is Thursday against Montebello, the only Almont team to beat them in the last two seasons.