By Aram Tolegian, SGVN twitter.com/ChemicalAT
HACIENDA HEIGHTS – The oft-changing race for the Hacienda League softball championship has taken another turn.
Los Altos High School avenged an earlier loss to Bonita with a 7-1 win on Tuesday to break a first-place tie between the teams atop the league standings and put itself a game up going into Thursday’s game at West Covina, which also is in the mix for the championship.
“It is big, but you know this week is tough,” Los Altos coach Nacho Hernandez said. “We’ve still got West Covina (on Thursday). That was the big thing we told these girls, we can celebrate tonight but at the end of the day we still have West Covina, Diamond Ranch and Diamond Bar.
“So, we can’t afford to have afford to have any type of letdowns.”
Los Altos (16-6 overall, 8-1 in league) did what Bonita couldn’t on Tuesday: take advantage of every mistake they were given. The Bearcats (14-7, 7-2) may spend the next couple of days wondering how they didn’t score more than one run after being the beneficiary of eight walks and one hit-by-pitch.
But for as wild as Los Altos pitcher Jennipher Solis was at times, she also was crafty enough to limit the damage. Solis got out of several bases-loaded jams and the only run she allowed came on a passed ball.
“I just have to have confidence that if I throw strikes and they hit it, then my defense will back me up,” Solis said. “I have a lot of a faith in them when I’m down.
“We do butt heads with Bonita a lot and have little conflicts between us, but a win is a win either way. In the beginning of the season, that’s what our goal was – to take league. That’s what we’re working for everyday out at practice.”
Los Altos struck in the first inning for a 1-0 lead on Alyssa Villapando’s RBI single. The lead climbed to 4-0 in the third inning courtesy of a two-run single by Celeste Wood and an RBI single by Lexi Garcia.
Bonita looked ready to make a dent in the lead in the fourth after loading the bases with one out, but Solis got out of the jam by getting a fly out and a foul out. Bonita finally got a run in the top of the fifth when Corrina Liscando scored on a ball that got past Villapando.
Los Altos put things away in the sixth by getting two on with two outs to set up a three-run home run to right field by Berlyne De La Mora. Solis rode the momentum by putting together her best two innings of the game in the sixth and seventh and issued only a walk for Bonita’s only runner.
“As long as we have more one more (run) than them, I’m satisfied with that,” Solis said. “But when she (De La Mora) hit that (home run), it was a little more easier that way.”