Lady Raiders come through in extra innings, take third in Whittier Tournament
by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal
The Sonora softball team took third place in the Whittier Tournament with a 3-1 win over Knight High of Palmdale, Saturday afternoon at Whittier High School.
Both pitchers threw gems, forcing extra innings in a scoreless tie through seven innings. However small ball and defense were the difference between the two teams.
“For them to pull it off, my pitcher and my defense really stepped up today,” said Michelle Rodriguez, Sonora head coach. “They were put in some challenging positions and that’s always something great to see.”
The Lady Raiders were led by Sam Casanas who pitched eight innings to take the victory.
“She was throwing a lot of strikes, she found some spots that were really comfortable for her where she likes to pitch and the umpire was really calling those for her,” Rodriguez said.
The Lady Raider bats were kept quiet through seven innings, but jumped at the opportunity with a runner in scoring position.
In the eighth inning, Emily Hauke dropped a bunt to move Ashley Diaz to third base. On the throw to first, the ball sailed over the first baseman’s head, scoring Diaz from third and advancing Hauke to second base.
“I try to tell them it’s not the big home run or the base hit, it’s the little things that count,” Rodriguez said.
Two batters later, with Ashley Bordy pinch running on third base, Leandra Jew brought Bordy home on a sacrifice fly.
Taylor Clark added a bloop single and Katie Amaral singled and advanced to third on multiple fielding errors by the Hawks.
With a three run lead, Sam Casanas continued her mastery in the circle.
“I had those butterflies,” Casanas said, “I needed to pull through and I really think I did, and my defense behind me really helped me tremendously as well.”
Knight led off the inning with a single up the middle to score the runner on second base. A dribbler up the middle brought the winning run to the plate.
“I just told myself we can do this, I have my great defense,” Casanas said.
Pitching with runners on was normal by now for Casanas who consistently left runners stranded on base.
“I was putting it out of my mind, my defense and I managed even if there were runners on, we got out of it,” Casanas said.
After seven innings of excellent defense and pitching, the Lady Raiders were locked in defensively. So much such that they retired the second batter in the inning during an aftershock despite having two runners in scoring position. The Lady Raiders then escaped winning 3-1 on a grounder where the runner was tagged out on her way to first.
The Lady Raiders take home third place in the Whittier Tournament.
“This was a really important game for us to have, going back into our schedule,” Rodriguez said.