Sports

El Segundo’s quick start, strong finish is too much for Lady Heralds

Whittier Christian pitcher Hannah Gabriel was asked to make a relief appearance in an 8-1 loss to El Segundo, Friday afternoon at Whittier Christian High.
Whittier Christian pitcher Hannah Gabriel was asked to make a relief appearance in an 8-1 loss to El Segundo, Friday afternoon at Whittier Christian High.

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by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

After Thursday’s big win, the Whittier Christian softball team saw its momentum fall quickly in an 8-1 defeat at the hands of El Segundo, Friday afternoon at home in the second game of the Whittier Christian Tournament.

The Eagles turned two key hits into a 3-0 lead after the top of the first inning, while the defense behind pitcher McCall James did the rest.

“We just weren’t here today,” said Dale Van Duyn, Whittier Christian head coach. “We had 15 pop ups, which made it easy for them. We tell the kids every day that we need to make the defense work. If anything, at least this wasn’t league play.”

Katelyn Wagner was given the start for the Lady Heralds, but struggled with her command in the circle and found herself behind in counts.

To battle back, Wagner needed to throw strikes and the Eagles waited for their opportunities. Shannon Brooker drove home leadoff hitter Rhianna Rich from second base with an RBI single to open the scoring.

Three batters later, Julie Roach brought home two more with a line-drive single.

In the second inning, the Eagles extended the lead to 4-0 on an RBI groundout by Allison Tatnal. After another pair of singles, Van Duyn turned to Hannah Gabriel to slow down El Segundo’s offense.

The switch worked as Gabriel retired the first nine batters she faced, however with two outs in the fifth inning, the Eagles struck again with a two-run home run by Roach, who finished with four RBI on the day.

“They made the adjustments,” Van Duyn said. “I give them credit, they made the adjustments. We weren’t all there and momentum is a lot in this game, it made a big difference.”

The Eagles added two runs in the sixth inning with an RBI single by Brooker and a fielding error.

The Lady Heralds’ lone bright spot offensively was Morgan Ryan, who went 2-for-3 with a single and a solo home run in the fourth inning.

Whittier Christian finished with seven hits, but couldn’t string them together like it did on Thursday in a win over Long Beach Wilson.

“Morgan was on today, she played great defense and she gave us something at the plate,” Van Duyn said. “I wish everyone else was at that spot too.”

The Lady Heralds will be back in action tomorrow with two games, starting in the morning with a 10 a.m. game against Bloomfield Christian. The second game time will be determined by the result of the contest.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.