SOUTH GATE — Apparently, Newbury Park High's Amy Berman likes to keep her friends close and her enemies closer--for good reason.
A week ago, after learning the Panthers would face Crescenta Valley in the championship game of the Downey softball tournament, Berman invited Falcon pitcher Danielle Ferreira to spend the night so the next morning they could attend a workout in Santa Barbara with the team they play for during the summer.
Perhaps Ferreira's first mistake was to accept the offer. And her second was kidding Berman that she would hit her with a pitch.
But it was Berman who did the hitting.
She went three for three as Newbury Park rung up Ferreira for 15 hits in a 4-1 victory over the Falcons in the tournament final at South Gate Park.
Newbury Park (5-0), ranked No. 4 in The Times' regional poll, handed the second-ranked Falcons (5-1) their first defeat and look more than ready to begin Marmonte League play against Westlake (5-1) on Monday.
"If we can hit the ball like this [in league play], we'll be very encouraged," Newbury Park Coach Mike Morgan said.
Crescenta Valley started the scoring with an unearned run off Kristi Fox in the first inning.
Becca Baldridge led off with a bloop single to left. Kelly Labor followed with a sacrifice bunt, but the ensuing throw to first base by third baseman Julie Zuckman was in the dirt and Baldridge ended up at third.
Fox (3-0), who allowed only three hits, retired the next two batters on a strikeout and a ground ball, but Amy Chapman singled to left to score Baldridge for a 1-0 Falcon lead.
Newbury Park answered in the third, scoring leadoff batter Emily Webster on a single by Tina Roscoe.
Berman scored the go-ahead run for the Panthers in the fifth when Candace Roberts' grounder took a bad hop and went off the shoulder of Baldridge at shortstop.
Newbury Park added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth by bunching four singles and a fielding error that scored Elisa Muran and Webster.
Meanwhile, Fox, the tournament's most valuable player, got stronger in the later innings, retiring the final 13 batters in order after surrendering an infield single to Hope Robertshaw in the third.
Tawni Yamauchi had three hits for Newbury Park. Fox, Roberts and Muran each added two hits.