By Clay Fowler, Staff Writer
Scott Fisch explored the possibility, but the South Hills High School softball coach wasn’t about to play down the significance of Tuesday’s extra-inning, 4-3 win over first-place Chino Hills. “I guess I could give the politically correct answer that it was just another league game,” Fisch said. “No. This was huge. Chino Hills is a solid team and to get a win was huge.” Ten innings certainly is a huge number, but even bigger is the fact South Hills (14-5, 8-2 Sierra League) pulled even with Chino Hills (16-5, 7-2) atop the league standings thanks to an RBI double from first baseman Sabrina Perez with two outs in the 10th.
Chino Hills carried a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning but South Hills capitalized on an error and a walk to scratch out the tying run, thanks to shortstop Kristen Stewart’s two-out RBI single.
Chino Hills had runners thrown out at third in the sixth and ninth innings, just two of several instances that could have swung the game the opposite way.
“They had to be right on the money to make those plays,” Chino Hills coach Mike Southworth said. “On one of them the girl caught the ball in mid-center field and threw her out on the fly. We had our opportunities.”
Chino Hills took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and had a chance for more, considering the first two batters produced two of the Huskies’ seven hits. The inning’s fourth batter drew a walk, but the only run Chino Hills scored came courtesy of South Hills focusing on a runner between first and second while Chino Hills’ baserunner scored.
South Hills was robbed of a home run by Chino Hills center fielder Courtney Olson-Werling to begin the second inning, but the Huskies eventually hit one out in the inning when Torie O’ Keeffe’s two-run shot cleared the right-field fence.
South Hills held onto a one-run lead until the momentum shifted in the fifth inning when Chino Hills scored on a throwing error that would have completed an inning-ending double play. Second baseman Shianne Brannan, who was hit by a pitch to begin the fifth, tied the game on a high South Hills throw to first.
Chino Hills kept things rolling in the sixth when Garie Blando drew a leadoff walk and scored on Brittney Hadley’s RBI single that gave the Huskies a 3-2 lead. Hadley was thrown out trying to go from first to third on Alexis Martinez’s ensuing single for the second out of the inning.
The teams will play for sole possession of first place on Thursday at Big League Dreams in Chino Hills.