Copeland dominates as Esperanza celebrates title
(Editor's note: This story has been edited to clarify comments made last week by Hayley Copeland.)
ORANGE – Esperanza star pitcher Hayley Copeland backed up her confident comments with a dominating performance Thursday against El Modena.
Copeland pitched a one-hitter with 14 strikeouts to help the Aztecs win the Century League title outright with a 2-0 victory over the Vanguards at El Modena.
The Aztecs (22-7, 11-1), who have won back-to-back league titles, beat the Vanguards, 6-1, last week behind a one-hitter by Copeland to take control of the league race. It was after that game that Copeland said that Esperanza "won't have a problem" winning the rest of its games, including its regular-season finale vs. El Modena, to wrap up the title even though, she said, "their whole team is tough."
Copeland, a sophomore, repeated Thursday that she was pleased to beat a team as challenging as the Vanguards.
"El Modena is a tough team with some great players," Copeland said.
She then added, "I think we are going to go pretty far in CIF (playoffs) this year."
Copeland's perfect game was ruined in the bottom of the fourth when senior shortstop Alyson Kulp hit a single. Kulp, the only player for El Modena (19-9, 8-4) to get on base, got some satisfaction on her senior day.
"It feels great to take that (perfect game) away from her," Kulp said. "Especially after what she said about us."
Freshman Megan McCune came in for the Vanguards in the third inning and allowed five hits and one earned run. The run came when freshman catcher Maddie Roth smashed a ball up the third base line, scoring sophomore center fielder Bryanna Castro.
The Aztecs' first run came from senior third baseman Nicole Schroeder, who hit a home run over the center field fence.