The wicked pitching of the East turned the good hitters of the West into dominoes Saturday at Cal State Northridge.
Overpowered by a pitching trio that recorded 16 strikeouts and allowed four hits, the West All-Stars fell one by one and were defeated by the East, 10-1, in the inaugural Daily News All-Star High School Softball Game.
Working three innings each, East pitchers Janeen Duncan of Alemany, Laura Fawcett of Verdugo Hills and Debby Day of Burbank, scattered four singles and allowed only five runners to reach base. At one point the trio combined to retire 15 batters in a row and 24 of the last 26.
"I knew we had really strong pitching," said Day, who had seven strikeouts in the last three innings to lead the East. "But I didn't expect so many strikeouts. I thought that there would be lots of popups and ground balls."
In a game that featured 30 of the best local high school seniors, six of whom will play for Division I colleges next year, a lopsided outcome was unexpected by the participants. But the West committed 11 errors--resulting in 10 unearned runs--while the East committed no errors and tagged West pitchers Molly Moore of Thousand Oaks and Tina Shimozo of Chatsworth for 12 hits.
"I thought we had the best pitching and the best bats," said Burbank Coach Chris Krohn, who co-coached the East team with Verdugo Hills Coach Laramie Boyd. "But it was weird. I didn't expect this. I just think all of our pitchers threw harder."
Day thought so, too.
"I was trying to be real intense," said Day, who grunted with the release of each pitch. "I didn't think that I had anything to prove, but I didn't want to seem like I wasn't taking things seriously."
The West, which was coached by Thousand Oaks Coach Chuck Brown and El Camino Real Coach Neils Ludlow, scored its only run in the first inning off Duncan. El Camino Real's Darci Stehlik walked and later scored on a single by Newbury Park's Dawn Hatmaker.
The East's pitching then took over. Duncan struck out five and gave up three hits before yielding to Fawcett in the fourth inning. Fawcett pitched three perfect innings and struck out five, including four in a row. Fawcett fooled hitters with a deceptive changeup.
Meanwhile, aided by the ineptness of the West defense, the East pulled ahead. Sylmar shortstop Teri Klement singled and later scored on an error to tie the score in the second inning. The East added two runs in the fourth on two errors and singles by Klement and San Fernando's Marina Galan.
After scoring an unearned run in the sixth, the East broke the game open by scoring six runs in the eighth. The West committed five errors in the inning to go with five East hits. Hart's Kristen Paris and Sylmar's Michelle Blaha each singled and scored. Day and Klement each had run-scoring singles.
Klement, who Wednesday had three hits to lead Sylmar to a 13-4 rout of El Camino Real in the City Section 4-A championship game, was named the game's most valuable player. Klement had four hits and scored two runs.
"I was so surprised," Klement said. "I thought they were going to pick a pitcher. I didn't expect this at all."