Softball: La Mirada shows no mercy in beating Norwalk

By Red Williams, Correspondent
The mental and emotional impact of high school softball may be buoyant or depressing, a rush or a bummer.
La Mirada’s Matadores were buoyant, almost to the point of giddy, when they rushed past visiting Norwalk, 11-0, in Suburban League play Wednesday. The game was shortened to the fifth inning because of the eight-run mercy rule.
On the other hand, the Lancers are trying to find their way this season and hoping to stave off deeper depression.
“We have a very young team,” Norwalk coach Jason Reyes said, “and one of the main things we’re trying to accomplish is to keep their minds in the game. You could just see them losing their mental edge when we got behind so early.”

La Mirada, now 7-4 overall and 3-0 in league, broke out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and added two runs in each of the next three innings. An RBI double over the center fielder’s head by Annie Dipillo was the big blow for the Matadores early on. She also added a two-run home run in the fourth and ended up with four RBIs to give her a .500 batting average.
La Mirada second baseman Becca Rice also drove in a pair of runs in the first inning on a double to left and scored the fifth run on Lyndsey Cole’s single.
Meanwhile, Matadores starting pitcher Ambar Hickman (5-1), a 5-foot-11 senior right-hander, shut out the Lancers on three singles through four innings. Jenivie Rivas closed it out in the circle for La Mirada with a perfect fifth.
“Ambar threw the ball well today,” Matadores coach Rich Trujillo said. “Her ball didn’t seem to be moving as well, though, and she did some experimenting with a screwball. That’s why she hit two batters.”
“We had great defense,” Hickman said, “and that really helped out with my confidence.”
She said her off-speed curve was her best pitch.
“I thought we played with a pretty even keel,” Trujillo said. “But we’re supposed to do that and get a little better each game. I don’t think we’ve peeked yet.”
Reyes said, “La Mirada is a great hitting team, and I hope we can learn from this game that we need mental readiness. We’ve got a lot of talent on this team, and this was rather frustrating.”
The Lancers (2-5, 0-1) put two runners on base in the first and fourth innings, but failed to get any clutch hitting off Hickman. They stranded six runners.
Courtney Skogen, Lisa Perez and Rice each had two hits for the Matadores, and Perez hit a two-run homer in the second. Rice also had two RBIs.
The area rivals will meet again on Friday. Trujillo expects to start Hickman in the circle again against Norwalk’s Destiny Vasquez.

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