By Steve Ramirez
COVINA — Charter High School, after losing 14-12 to Chino Hills on Tuesday, knew it couldn’t afford to open Sierra League play with back-to-back setbacks.
Pitcher Brooke Clemetson and catcher Monique Mata the Chargers won’t have to.
Clemetson tossed a five-hitter and struck out seven and Mata had two hits and two RBIs to lead host Charter Oak to a 3-1 victory over South Hills.
The Chargers, also getting and RBI from Clemetson, improved to 16-3 overall and 1-1 in the Sierra League. Lexi Robles had a RBI in the seventh for Charter Oak, which slipped to 11-4 and 0-1.
“In this league, you feel like you have to win everyone you can get, especially after the disappointment on Tuesday,” said Charter Oak coach Scott Higuera, whose team saw Chino Hills rally back from a 12-6 deficit three days ago. “I was hoping the we would bounce back, and despite a shaky seventh inning, I liked our effort today.”
None was better than Clemetson, who had one of her better performances in the circle this season. She kept the Huskies at bay during the first six innings, limiting South Hills to two hits and striking out six.
“I was just hitting my spots,” Clemetson said. “Coach was calling good pitches, and my defense helped me out.”
South Hills, after lying dormant for much of the game, tried to rally in the seventh, cutting it to 3-1 on a single Robles before loading the bases with one out.
Clemetson got Natalie Moran to hit into a force out at home before striking out Caitlyn Van Hemelryck to end it.
“It’s like I just told the girls, you can’t wait until the seventh inning,” South Hills coach Brandon Gonzalez said. “Yeah, we almost came back, but we can’t wait until the seventh. We should have been hitting the whole game.
“There were a few bad calls, but you can’t use that as an excuse.”
Charter Oak led 3-0 after six innings. Clemetson made it 1-0 in the third with a one-out single before Mata hit an RBI double in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.
The catcher then followed a triple by Alison Strycula with a single for a 3-0 lead in sixth.
South Hills missed a chance to take a lead in the third when Abry Moreno hit into a questionable double play. Moreno, with runners on first and third hit a pop up to third that glanced off runner Marissa Thornburg before Allegra Cisneros was forced at second.
The umpires huddled before ruling Thornburg out for interference.
“It should have been a dead ball, because it hit a runner,” Gonzalez said. But they didn’t call it that way.”
It proved to be a bigger play after South Hills rallied to cut it 3-1 in the seventh. But Clemetson ended it by striking out Van Hemelryck.
“She’s the one we want in there,” Higuera said. “She wasn’t tired, or laboring. We didn’t feel the need to take her out.
“(There were) some flashbacks to Tuesday (the loss to Chino Hills), but we worked it out and got through the game OK.”
By Steve Ramirez