East County Sports

Championship-rich Christian makes title game return

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Christian High infielders record a force out at second base during the Patriots’ semifinal win over La Jolla on Thursday. / photo by Ramon Scott

2016 EAST COUNTY PREP SOFTBALL

 

By Adam Paul
© East County Sports.com

 

SANTEE (5-27-16) — A big rally using speed and pitching earns the No. 1 seeded Christian Patriots a 6-4 victory over the No. 3 seeded La Jolla Vikings in the San Diego CIF Division IV semifinals at the Santee Sportsplex on Thursday.

Things early on didn’t go so well for the Patriots as the Vikings in the top of the first inning had three hits and also used a couple of errors to push across 4 runs to lead 4-0 early on. However the lead didn’t last as the Patriots were able to answer with some offense of their own.

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Christian’s Silent Rain Espinoza slides into second against La Jolla on Thursday. / photo by Ramon Scott

Leadoff hitter SILENT RAIN ESPINOZA (2-4, 2 R) hit the ball to short but a miscue occurred and she was able to reach on the error.

ASHLEY CARTER (2-2, 2 R) proceeded to walk on four pitches, so with runners at first and second up stepped the big bopper ANNA SHERBURNE (1-3, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B), who absolutely crushed the ball to left field for what looked like a homer but it hit off the fence for a double. However on the crushed double, both Espinoza and Carter came into score to cut the lead in half at 4-2. A couple of batters later AMARA HARRIS (1-2, RBI, R, 3B) would knock in Sherburne to pull the Patriots within 4-3.

The Vikings a couple of innings later in the top of the third would threaten as they were able to get runners on first and third with no outs. However, Carter would get out of the inning which included a great play by her as she flipped a ball to Sherburne at the plate and nailed the runner trying to score.

So having gotten out of the jam, the Patriots were in business as they headed to the bottom of the third inning still trailing by the one run.

Leadoff hitter Espinoza roped a single, Carter bunted her way on for a single to put runners at first and second, a couple of batters later with 2 outs Harris ripped a triple scoring both Espinoza and Carter to give the Patriots a 5-4 lead.  Christian extended its lead when ELLE LINDBLAD singled scoring Harris to make it 6-4.

La Jolla threatened again in the top of the fourth when with two outs they were able to get consecutive hits and have runners on the second and third but were halted when Carter got the next batter to fly out to end the inning.

The Vikings would threaten one more time in the top of the fifth when they led off with a double, but Carter and the Patriots would shut things down to preserve the two run lead.

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COURTNEY SKJERVE, of Christian High, steals second base on Thursday in the SDSCIF playoffs at Santee Sportsplex. / photo by Ramon Scott

The Patriots in the bottom of the sixth would get a runner on when COURTNEY SKJERVE (SB) was hit by a pitch and she proceeded to steal second base but she would be stranded.

So still leading 6-4 heading into the top of the seventh the Vikings were down to their final three outs. It would stay that was as Carter was able to retire the Vikings in order 1-2-3 to end the game and send the Patriots to the ship.

Carter on the day in the victory tossed 7 innings, gave up 4 runs of which 1 was earned on 8 hits, walked 0 and struck out 2.

“It feels so great to get to the championship and have an opportunity to win it, it also feels great that our hard work has paid off. Being down 4-0 early on we just had to slow the game down and calm down and play our game and we did,” said Sherborne, when asked about what it meant having an opportunity to play for a championship and also about how they were able to over the early deficit.

With the victory the Patriots earned the right to play in the Division IV championship at UCSD in a rematch against La Jolla who came back in the elimination game to beat Mission Bay.

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Christian High gets the final out of the game on Thursday to advance to the CIF championship game. / EastCountySports.com photo

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