By John Honell, Correspondent
Clutch hitting and timely pitching were enough for San Dimas High School to clinch the Valle Vista League softball championship. The Saints scored their first five runs with two outs and pulled away for an 8-2 win over Northview on Wednesday. “That was a great win,” Saints coach Don Pollard said. “Beating them was a good win for us because they needed this game as much as we did. It clinched the league championship.”
The win gave the Saints, (17-7, 10-0) a three-game lead with two games left.
The Vikings now have to hope the Saints beat Covina next week to hold on to second place and a possible home game in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.
The Vikings scored first by pushing across an unearned run in the top of the second inning.
Jazmin Chavez doubled to lead off the inning and Samantha Martinez was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch and an error scored Chavez, but Saints starter Bethie Celaya stranded two runners to get out of the inning.
“When Bethie has command of her pitches she’s really tough,” Pollard said. “Then she gets in a little trouble and her defense doesn’t help. It would be easy to get down, but she stayed after it today.”
The Saints scored three runs with two outs in the third. Karrisa Conner singled to lead off. Then, after two outs, three consecutive singles by Aleena Avalos, Briana Quintana and Rachael Connell put the Saints ahead to stay.
The Saints scored two more runs in the fourth inning in another two-out rally.
Julia Lupercio led off with a single and senior Sara Moore hit a bloop double down the left-field line. Courtney Hine followed with a two-run triple to make the score 5-1.
“Winning the league championship is good,” said Moore, who will be playing at Odessa College in Texas next year. “It’s my senior year and we’re going away with another league championship. (Mejia) was pretty composed for only being a freshman. She’ll be really good.”
Moore was 3 for 4 and knocked in a run. Hine went 2 for 4 and drove in three runs.
“This was a big game for us,” Hine said. “This was for league. She (Northview pitcher Ana Mejia) was throwing a lot of outside stuff but we sat on it and patience paid off.”
The Vikings had a chance to get back in the game by loading the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth.
The Saints threw out two runners at the plate, but Ceyala walked in a run and Kaili Now came in to shut down the rally.
“It was a hot day,” Pollard said. “Bethie got a little tired so Kaili came in finish it off.”
The Saints blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth scoring three runs on five hits, capped by a two-run single by freshman catcher Janell Wheaton.
“They’re a good hitting team,” Vikings coach Jeff Butler said. “Ana pitched a good game but their hitters hit and ours didn’t. For some reason, against San Dimas the girls that are supposed to hit don’t. My two best hitters left runners stranded today.”
The Saints, ranked ninth by this newspaper, have been moved up to CIF-SS Division 4 this year after reaching the Division 5 semifinals in 2010 and getting to the Division 5 championship game in 2009.