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Laguna Hills battles to the end, but falls to Bishop Amat
LA PUENTE - Typically, the job of the leadoff hitter is to just get on base and let others make things happen.
Bishop Amat of La Puente senior Alyssa Barrera was on the other side of that equation in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 softball quarterfinal on Thursday afternoon.
The leadoff hitter needed to make it happen, and she did, delivering a game-winning single with one out in the seventh inning to carry the Lancers to a 1-0 victory over visiting Laguna Hills.
“I was just trying go up there and hit the ball hard,” Barrera said. “All I was trying to get was on base. When I saw it go through, it was, ‘Yes, yes, keep going, keep going.’ It was big relief off my shoulders. We did it. We did it.”
Second-seeded Bishop Amat (23-4) will play at Redondo on Tuesday in the semifinals.
“(Laguna Hills pitcher Megan Casper) was producing groundballs and her infield was getting it done,” Barrera said. “We had to find ways to get it out of the infield and get baserunners. I was sitting on a first-pitch strike.”
The Del Rey League champions had only two base runners advance as far as second base until the seventh.
The Hawks (20-7) had their chances to score. The Sea View League co-champions had runners on second and third base in the fourth. In the seventh, Courtney Kim (3 for 3) singled and got to second base with a one-out sacrifice by Alex Valencia. Pinch hitter Heather Turner put runners on the corners when shortstop Gabby Bracamonte dropped her grounder.
“We just couldn't string them together,” Kim said. “Little balls are super important for us and that is what it came down to.”
Laguna Hills, which lost in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, then chose to attempt a surprise two-out squeeze play.
“Ultimately we live and die with the little ball, and we didn't get the little ball down,” Coach Cary Crouch said. “We didn't move our runners. It came down to one break and we just didn't get it.”
Bishop Amat pitcher Samaria Diaz delivered a high pitch and the bunt was a weak pop fly that first baseman Julia Menrad had chased down and caught.
“It was a perfect pitch and perfect timing,” Diaz said.
“It was a gutsy play,” Dedmon said. “I tip cap my coach to Crouch to try and make things happen, He was trying to shake things up. Obviously we made a great pitch, a great play.”