La Habra pitcher Danielle Ortega struck out 11 batters to shut down Pacifica, 2-0, on the first day of the Woodbridge tournament Saturday at Woodbridge High.
"I think (Pacifica) had a couple of good hitters, but for the most part they were swinging at a lot of junk," said Ortega, a four-year varsity pitcher who is averaging about 11 strikeouts.
Ortega worked out of a jam in the fourth inning. After walking Kristina Carlson, she allowed Andrea Pickett's bunt to elude her for an infield single, putting runners on first and second with no outs. But Ortega struck out the next two batters and Kristen Varagne popped up for the third out.
Varagne, also Pacifica's starting pitcher, struck out four and walked one, barely escaping the fourth without yielding a run. Three of the first four batters she faced singled, so La Habra had bases loaded with one out. But Ortega popped up, and Varagne struck out Brooke Koehler for the third out.
In the fifth, La Habra (9-2) capitalized on Pacifica's pitching and defensive problems. With one out, a Varagne pitch struck Kristie Bravo on the shoulder, and Angie Calabretta walked. Meagan Mirth then reached first on a ground-ball single, as third baseman Leslie Mascarenas could not make the play in time, loading the bases.
Aimee Weathers popped out to center fielder Amy Smith, but Smith's throw to home caught a bad bounce, and Bravo scored while catcher Susan Denny was scrambling in the dirt for the ball.
Then, with Stefanie Bakke at the plate, Calabretta came home on a wild pitch.
"We played fired up," La Habra Coach Sue Briquelet said. "Often the sun can wear you down, but after one kind of blah inning, they started playing aggressive again. Even the outs were crisp."
Pacifica dropped to 5-6.