By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Whether you call it breathing room or insurance, the Bishop Amat High School softball team gave itself just that, avoiding disaster in the seventh inning against visiting Oak Park in Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 3 second-round game thanks to a hefty six-run lead.
Bishop Amat scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth which help offset the Eagles’ three runs in the seventh, allowing the Lancers to escape with a 7-4 victory and a trip to Thursday’s quarterfinals, where they will be on the road against Torrance. (To continue click thread).
CIF-SS Softball Playoffs
Today’s second round results
La Mirada 3, Bonita 0
St. Lucy’s 1, Highland 0
Chino Hills 1, North Torrance 0
South Hills 7, Lakeside 3
Bishop Amat 7, Oak Park 4
Ocean View 6, San Dimas 0
South El Monte 8, Duarte 4
Savanna 10, Azusa 0
Arroyo 3, San Marino 1
Bonita ousted: Amber Hickman and Jenevie Rivas combined for a shutout, and La Mirada earned a 3-0 victory over No. 2-seeded Bonita in a CIF-Southern Section Division 2 second-round game Tuesday.
Arroyo moves on: The Arroyo High School softball team hit two home runs in the fifth inning en route to a 3-1 victory over visiting San Marino on Thursday and advanced to the CIF-SS Division 5 quarterfinals.
More Softball notes:
St. Lucy’s 1, Highland 0 – Pitcher Danielle O’Toole’s dominant postseason continued with a 12-strikeout effort to send the Regents into Thursday’s quarterfinals, where they will host Oaks Christian. O’Toole went the distance and allowed three hits and a walk to pick up her second consecutive 1-0 win. She also delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Brandi Harkness in the bottom of the fourth inning with what turned out to be the game-winning run. “I told the kids in the last win, at Burroughs in a very crowded softball stadium, that we picked a great time to play our best softball of the season,” St. Lucy’s coach Ryan Nuveman said. “Our offense is what it is, our defense needs to be what it’s been in our last several games and our pitching has been lights out, almost unhittable.” The Regents (16-12) have won eight of their last nine games. “We knew Danielle had this in her,” Nuveman said of his junior standout. “She’s a big-time prospect, already committed to San Diego State. “She was hurt last year and it’s taken quite a while for her to get back into shape. But she’s now peaking again. This is not a surprise.”
South Hills 7, Lakeside 3 – The Huskies rode pitcher Sydney LaFollette into the quarterfinals after the junior induced 13 groundouts to keep Lakeside at bay. The Huskies broke through for three runs in the third and fourth innings. Vanessa Molina went 2 for 3 and Lexi Robles had two RBIs for the Huskies, now 19-7.
Savanna 10, Azusa 0 — The Aztecs were besieged by errors and allowed just two earned runs in the loss. Azusa (15-8-1) managed just five hits, including a double by Janel Chavira.
Amat centerfielder Alma Cortez, who set the tone with a leadoff triple to start the game, which led to a 2-0 lead in the first, said it needs to do a better of job of closing.
“When we get runs we get relaxed,” Cortez said. “We have to learn how to close the (game). Once we do, we won’t have to go through this.”
Otherwise, it was another well-earned victory for the second-seed Lancers, who improved to 24-3 behind a pair of doubles from pitcher Natalie Sanchez and outfielder Amanda Sanchez, along with two hits and two RBIs from Lexi Gonzalez.
After Amat scored four runs on four hits in the sixth to take a 7-1 lead, Sanchez, who only had allowed three hits through six innings, gave up four hits to the first five Eagles batters in the top of the seventh, which led to three runs — Amat’s lead sliced to 7-4 with a runner aboard and just one out.
Amat turned to sophomore pitcher Sabrina Anguiano, another top pitcher on the Lancers’ staff who has been out since the second game of the season with a back injury.
It was a tough spot return, but Anguiano, who was the Lancers’ regular starters last year as a freshman, got the Lancers out of it with a ground ball and fly out to end the game.
“Natalie’s been great for us all year, but they were starting to hit her, and that happens, you can’t expect anything to be easy,” Bishop Amat coach Jesse Mendez said. “But it worked out well for us. That’s the luxury of having Sabrina ready to go now. She’s healthy and throwing well, and it was good for her to get out there and contribute for us.”
Katie Cunningham’s ground out scored Cortez from third in the first. Then with two outs, Lexi Gonzalez singled and Amanda Sanchez doubled her home for a 2-0 lead.
After Natalie Sanchez’s two-out double in the third, Gonzalez singled her home for a 3-0 lead.
After Oak Park scored in the bottom of the third to trim the Lancers’ lead to 3-1, the Lancers’ exploded for four runs in the sixth.
Natalie Sanchez led off with a double and after an error, Amanda Sanchez doubled to drive in a run, then Cassie Padilla’s double drove in two more. Brandi Galaviz scored another on a ground out, and all of a sudden it was 7-1.
Amat only had eight hits, but they made nearly all of them count.
“We were aggressive and got hits when we needed to get hits,” Mendez said. “Timely hitting, that’s important in the playoffs. I thought we set the tone early and struggled in the middle of the game. But the sixth inning was big for us.”
Oak Park finished 19-10.