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JEFF GRITCHEN , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Mater Dei's Melissa Rochford, left, and Maddison Flores cheer as their team scores against Santa Margarita during a Trinity League game on Friday. Mater Dei won, 5-1.

Mater Dei shows good timing as it holds onto first

STAFF WRITER

Hitting clearly wasn’t the issue for either squad.

Both Mater Dei and Santa Margarita pounded out 11 base hits Friday afternoon. The difference, however, proved to be when those base knocks materialized.

The ninth-ranked Monarchs scored four of their five runs with two outs, and used that that timely hitting to stay atop the Trinity League standings, knocking off No. 7 Santa Margarita, 5-1, at Santat Ana’s Thornton Park in a crucial league showdown.

Mater Dei (18-7) improved to 5-1 against Trinity League foes, avenging their 3-1 loss to the Eagles on April 14.

“You never want to lose twice to a team in league,” Monarchs coach Tia Meza said. “It was really important for us to come in here – especially for the seniors – in this second round to keep this momentum to finish league.”

Senior catcher Morganne Flores finished 3 for 4 at the plate, while fellow senior Samantha Zaccari went 2 for 2, drove in a pair of runs, including the game’s first in the second inning.

With Brittany McConnell on first base after a leadoff single, the left-handed Zaccari slapped a bouncer through the left side of the Santa Margarita infield that continued to roll past the Eagles’ left fielder, giving the senior an RBI triple.

The Monarchs took a 2-0 lead into the third after tacking on another run in the second, before adding another three runs in the third. With two outs and a runner on second in the inning, junior Hannah Wessel drilled an RBI triple to right center field. Zaccari followed with an RBI single to left and later scored when McKenzie Walsh was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

“For us to be able to come up clutch with two outs and get the runners where they needed to be, it’s a testament to the team to not give up,” Meza said. “These kids all year long have been coming up clutch in situations, and this is just another example.”

The Monarchs got it done in pressurized defensive moments as well.

Junior pitcher Gabby Sandoval worked out of bases-loaded situations in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings. Shortstop Neli Casares-Maher and third baseman Kelli Godin each made a pair of spectacular putouts, including Casares-Maher’s diving, double-play grab in the fifth that kept a pair of Santa Margarita runs off the scoreboard.

The Eagles (16-7, 3-2) stranded 12 runners and scored their lone run on Jenna Cone’s RBI single in the seventh inning.

Also in the Trinity League:

No. 4 Orange Lutheran 14, JSerra 0: Mackenzie Boesel and Desiree Buboi each went 3 for 3 with a home run as the Lancers dominated the Lions. Buboi and catcher Lauren Espalin each tallied three RBI.

In the Golden West League:

Ocean View 10, Orange 0: Seahawks pitcher Billi Derleth struck out eight and limited the Panthers to three hits in her shutout. Senior Anika Ortiz finished 3 for 4 at the plate, driving in three runs and scoring two.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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