By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Judging from the bantering back and forth between players and a small exchange from the head coaches, it’s obvious the rivalry that is St. Paul and Bishop Amat is alive and well. On the softball field, however, it’s a different story, Amat earning a clean sweep.
Even though St. Paul isn’t having a great year, Bishop Amat’s first two wins over the Swordsmen came by a total of three runs, which were closer than the CIF-Southern Section Division 3’s second-ranked Lancers would have liked. Although St. Paul showed its grit with four runs in the seventh punctuated by Breana West’s three-run homer, the Swordsmen were simply too far behind to make it dramatic, falling to Bishop Amat for the third straight time, 9-5, and with it any realistic chances of competing for a Del Rey League title.
“With a lead like we had (9-0) we need to do a better job of putting teams away,” Lancers coach Jesse Mendez said. “I thought we got caught up in the emotion of the game and got involved with things we shouldn’t have, we’re better than that.
“But at the same time we have to feel good about where we’re headed. The girls are working hard, asking to work late and anytime you play St. Paul, you know that’s a game they don’t want to lose.”
Bishop Amat improved to 19-2 and 9-0 in the Del Rey with the third-place Swordsmen falling to 12-10 and 4-5.
“We came back, but you can’t have that many innings when you don’t do anything,” St. Paul coach Roberta Argott said. “When we finally did something, it’s just a long way back.
“I wish we would have played better and performed better in situations that called for it, but give them credit, they got big hits, big two-out hits.”
Lexi Gonzalez got it going for Amat with a line-drive two-out homer that never got more than 10 feet off the ground to clear the fence in left, staking Amat to a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Amat broke it open in the third, scoring five runs all with two outs.
Catcher Jackie Carlin smacked a bases loaded single that drove in pitcher Natalie Sanchez and Cassie Padilla to make it 4-0.
Then Victoria Saucedo hit the second of two doubles to drive in two more runs, and Katie Cunningham singled home one more to make it 7-0.
“When you have the chance to close the door, you have to slam it,” Argott said of Amat’s two-out hit barrage. “If you don’t take advantage, they other team will and that’s what they did.”
Back-to-back doubles by Cunningham and Sanchez drove in two more runs to push the Lancers’ lead to 9-0 in the fifth.
Sanchez, who pitched a complete game, only gave up two earned runs. West’s three-run homer came after Amat booted a game-ending ground ball with two outs that allowed West to come to the plate.
“In those situations we need to be better,” Mendez said. “We’re usually a much better defensive team than that. We’re just fortunate that we had a big enough lead that it didn’t matter.”