LA MESA — The El Capitan High School softball team, which arrived at Saturday's San Diego Section 3-A championship game in a motorcade of stretch limos with horns honking, left the field at Helix High School in silence.
Monte Vista's Melissa Rodriguez beat the Vaqueros, 1-0, for the section title.
No. 1-seeded Monte Vista (19-5) scored only a run in each of its three playoff games, but that was enough for Rodriguez, who recorded three straight shutouts in the playoffs and 14 for the season, tying the section record set in 1984 by Santana's Johna Cook.
The last of those shutouts was the most difficult, as El Capitan had seven hits and put the leadoff runner on base in each of the last three innings. But each time the Vaqueros threatened, Rodriguez was able to get an easy pop fly to end the inning.
"I didn't think that they were going to score," said Rodriguez, who struck out seven and walked one. "When they got on, I was kind of nervous . . . (but) that was when I started to be my best. I figured I'd throw my best pitch and they would have to hit it."
Rodriguez's confidence was justified by her record against El Capitan (20-5) in Grossmont League play this season. She beat the Vaqueros twice, 2-0 and 1-0. Monte Vista won the league title with a record of 14-2, one game better than second-place El Capitan.
The Monarchs scored their lone run in the first inning. Shortstop Christy Howard tripled to score Jenny Wright, who had reached first on a throwing error by El Capitan pitcher Angie Bryant.
That was Bryant's only weak moment, however, as she struck out the next two batters to end the inning and allowed just one hit--an infield single--over the next six. The senior left-hander struck out seven without walking a batter.
2-A Marian 6, Mar Vista 0--In its two Metro-South Bay League games against Mar Vista this season, Marian did not score a run. It finished the league season four games behind the first-place Mariners. But in the championship game, Marian (17-10) turned the tables, as junior Darbie Seegrist pitched a no-hitter to give the Crusaders the section 2-A title.
Seegrist struck out four of the first six batters she faced. She allowed her only baserunner in the bottom of the third, when she walked opposing pitcher Cindy Davis on four straight pitches. The next batter, Crystal Agbunag, popped up to Seegrist, who fired the ball to first to double up Davis.
Seegrist then retired the next 12 batters, only two of whom hit the ball out of the infield. After shortstop Pam Sackrider caught a popup for the last out, Seegrist was teary-eyed and relieved.
"I've wanted this game since Thursday night (after Marian's 4-1 semifinal victory over USDHS)," Seegrist said. "I haven't slept so well, and I haven't done anything but let my stomach knot up."
Marian took the lead in the top of the second, when Gloria Sanchez singled to score Laura Cisneros from third. The Crusaders added three more in the third on a triple by Sackrider, a walk to Debi Hale and two Mar Vista errors.
1-A The Bishop's School 6, Imperial 0--Before the section 1-A championship game, Coastal League champion Bishop's (20-2)--which had beaten several 2-A and 3-A teams--was favored against Imperial (7-5), the Mountain-Desert League representative. But that wasn't enough for sophomore pitcher Darcey Fontana.
"My dream was to pitch a no-hitter," said Fontana, who went on to pitch the second of her high school career, striking out eight and walking three. "When I got on the mound, I was so confident, I could have beaten the Padres. This is the best game I've pitched. I had a lot of control. I changed my speeds. I was very consistent."
Fontana also had a single and a double in three at-bats, accounting for two of Bishop's four hits.
The Knights scored the only run they needed in the top of the first, when Laurie Smidt walked and then scored when Imperial third baseman Deirdre Smith misplayed a ball hit by Kerri Sandstrom. It was the first of seven errors the Tigers would commit, five of which occurred in the fifth, when Bishop's scored three times.