Ruby Flores, the Sunny Hills High School pitcher who has thrown four no-hitters and given up only one earned run this season, did her usual job in a Southern Section 3-A second-round playoff game Wednesday, allowing Los Amigos one hit, striking out 14 and walking none.
So did the Sunny Hills offense--eventually.
It took nine innings, but the second-seeded Lancers advanced to Friday's quarterfinals against Buena Park by defeating Los Amigos, 3-0, at Los Amigos.
Sunny Hills (24-5) had its chances early, leaving two runners stranded in both the second and fourth innings, but it wasn't until Debbie Tateyama led off the ninth by beating out a bunt that Cathy Williams, Sunny Hills coach, decided the Lancers had it in hand.
"I knew once we got Debbie on base we were going to score," Williams said.
With Tateyama on, Williams resorted to the basic softball strategy--she decided to have the next batter sacrifice Tateyama to second.
It was no easy decision. The next batter was Catherine Steadman, who averaged .386 during the regular season and hit two home runs Thursday in a first-round playoff game.
But--hard as it was--Williams had Steadman sacrifice, and the strategy worked. Gina LoPiccolo followed with a single and then sophomore center fielder Erin McKenney drove them both in with a single on an 0-2 pitch. McKenney, who went to third on the play at the plate, later scored on a passed ball.
"I was just trying to hit it on the ground to the right side," McKenney said. "I was glad to get (the game) over. I was so excited I couldn't wait to get the last three outs. I'm glad no balls came my way. I was shaking."
She need not have worried. There was nothing to field in the bottom of the inning, as Flores struck out the side to win it.
Flores (15-2) pitched three perfect innings before Kelly Davidson, the Los Amigos shortstop, singled to left to lead off the fourth. Davidson later was caught stealing, keeping the number of batters Flores faced to the minimum.
Jody Record took the loss for Los Amigos (17-13).
In other games:
Buena Park 5, Santa Ana 1--Shannon Akau (8-5) pitched a complete game as the Coyotes won at Buena Park. Buena Park, the third-place team out of the Freeway League is 14-9 and Santa Ana, the winner of the Century League, ends the season, 13-7.
Valencia 1, Glendora 0--Michele Granger (21-6) pitched a one-hitter, had 16 strikeouts and doubled in the winning run for the Tigers at Glendora. Valencia (21-7) advances to the quarterfinals Friday against Garden Grove.
Kristi Valdez reached on an error, moved to second on a fielder's choice before scoring on Granger's double in the fourth.
Garden Grove 3, Foothill 0--Tammie Flores pitched her seventh consecutive shutout, a three-hitter, to lead the Argonauts (19-8) at Foothill. Flores (13-7) had 11 strikeouts.
Garden Grove scored two runs in the third when Stephanie Smith singled and Marin Mendoza hit a home run past the outfielders. It was Mendoza's second home run. Garden Grove scored again in the fifth when Smith singled, moved to second on an error and then scored on another error.