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Griffin Does It All as Simi Valley Beats Los Alamitos, 1-0 : Division I: Pioneer pitcher throws shutout and decides game with a towering home run in the sixth inning.


LAKEWOOD — Everyone expected a pitchers' duel.

They got it.

Everyone expected it to be decided by a mistake.

It was.

A rising fastball--that didn't rise.

It was hit, and it landed 20 feet beyond the left-field fence, and pitcher Sara Griffin had won her own game, 1-0, giving top-seeded Simi Valley the Southern Section Division I softball championship Friday night at Mayfair Park.

The loser was unseeded Los Alamitos (24-4), which defeated the second- and third-seeded teams to get to its first final. The Griffins played well, twice escaping situations in which Simi Valley (26-1-1) had a runner at third--once in the third inning with a leadoff triple, and again in the fourth with a one-out triple.

But it was Griffin's homer in the sixth inning--off a rising fastball from Carrie Dolan--that decided the game.

It didn't do what it was supposed to.

"Obviously not," Dolan said. "I felt I was pitching horrible. I've never given up a homer in my life. I had given up only two triples."

Griffin hit a 2-and-1 pitch. It climaxed an extraordinary postseason for the junior. She had the game-winning run batted in in the quarterfinals and scored the game-winning run in the semifinal.

She said she knew she might be able to go deep against Dolan after her first at-bat, in which she bounced the ball back to the pitcher. She hit a long, towering foul ball down the left-field line during that at-bat. In the bottom of the sixth inning, she straightened it out.

"As soon as she hit it, we just watched," Los Alamitos Coach Jami Shannon said. "It's a tough way to lose. Carrie had been throwing so good in the playoffs--and she threw one rise that didn't rise."

Shannon admitted it was better to lose this way than the way most games are decided--on an error.

Neither team made an error, and it was Los Alamitos' defense that was the story early on.

Simi Valley had an ideal scoring opportunity in the third inning when its No. 8 hitter, Kris Lufkin, tripled over the head of left fielder Becky Rosetti. But Dolan got out of the jam with some good defensive play from first baseman Debbie Wilson.

Wilson fielded a bouncer and tagged out Julie Difatta. She then fielded Jessica Cunningham's bouncer and backhanded the ball to catcher Carolyn Wilson, who tagged out Lufkin. Jenny Conmay flied to right field to end the inning.

Simi Valley had nearly as good a chance to score in the next inning. A one-out triple into the right field corner by cleanup batter Tracy Hansen, who was batting .370. Dolan again got out of trouble with consecutive strikeouts of Dayna Skinner and Jennifer Roache.

Griffin retired the first 12 batters--bringing to 31 the number of consecutive batters she had retired over a two-game span--but Michelle Schneider led off the fifth inning with a line single to center.

An out later, Schneider reached second on Debbie Wilson's bouncer to third, but designated hitter Sheri Bergeron struck out to end the inning.

Griffin (20-1) finished with a one-hitter. She struck out 10 and walked two.

Dolan (9-2) had a four-hitter; she struck out five and walked none.

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