At Ocean View High in Huntington Beach, softball fans are beginning to wonder what Jackie Oakley will do for an encore.
Oakley, a junior pitcher, allowed just two hits and struck out 11 Thursday, and teammate Charis Monroe supplied the power with a three-run home run. Result: Top-seeded Ocean View advanced to the semifinals of the Southern Section 4-A softball playoffs with a 5-0 victory over Hart (21-5).
The win was Oakley's 29th of the year for the 30-0 Seahawks; and 25 of those victories have been shutouts. She has allowed just three earned runs all season, and her 11 strikeouts gave her a season total of 344 in 188 innings.
In Thursday's game, Oakley allowed solo singles by Hart's Lorie Fausett in the second inning and Natalie Davidson in the seventh to spoil her bid for a seventh no-hitter and fifth perfect game of the year. It seems no one is perfect all the time.
The Seahawks played nearly flawless behind Oakley Thursday afternoon.
"I was looking for three runs," said Ocean View Coach Sarah Oakley about her offensive strategy. (Oakley also doubles as Jackie's mother.) "It's not impossible for someone to get three runs on u s , too."
Not likely with her daughter on the mound. Hart threatened only once in the game, when Fausett opened the second inning with a slow bouncer to shortstop, and then beat the throw to first by Gretchen Bock. Natalie Davidson rolled to first base, but Cindy Schneller took her eyes off the ball while trying to pick up Fausett as she rounded second. The ball dribbled off Schneller's glove and rolled into short right field, and Fausett advanced to third.
But at that point, Oakley took over. Gina LaMantia popped back to the box for the first out of the inning. Oakley slipped two quick strikes past Kristin Paris, then recorded a strikeout when Paris fouled off a bunt attempt. Julie Martin was behind the count 1-2 when she too popped a bunt attempt into foul ground, and the side was retired.
Ocean View jumped on Hart pitcher Samantha Ford in the bottom of the third inning. With none out, Julie Scruggs singled over third and Christa Lawson popped up to shortstop. Then designated-hitter Lorna Payne dropped an 0-2 pitch between the mound and first base for a single. Up stepped Monroe, who hammered a 1-1 pitch into deep left field for her fifth home run of the year.
Jana Darling kept the inning going with a single, and Oakley doubled to right center to score Darling.
"We get the squeeze down early in the ballgame and pitch to Monroe a little differently, and the ballgame gets all turned around," said Hart Coach Dennis Ford.
Monroe was batting in the lead-off spot for Ocean View, but that didn't seem to bother her. She has faced Ford several times in amateur traveling softball leagues with "good success," according to Sarah Oakley. "Charis can hit her," she said. "She has a line on her."
The right-handed Ford (8-2) was bothered by tendinitis in her pitching arm early in the season. Despite a rough third inning, in which she allowed five hits, Ford finished with nine strikeouts. High pitches were her biggest problem, and Monroe was waiting for the fastball.
Ocean View added a run in the fifth when Lawson struck out on a wild pitch and advanced to first, and Payne doubled to score Lawson.