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Wilkes Pitches One-Hitter and Cypress Tastes Victory

Softball: Chargers' ace wins her fourth game of the tournament in beating Sacramento, 5-0, to win state title.

May 19, 1997|MICHAEL ITAGAKI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

HUNTINGTON BEACH — There was no champagne for Cypress when the state softball tournament concluded Sunday. But the sparkling apple cider tasted just fine.

Following the awards ceremony, Charger parents doused the players and coaches after Cypress defeated Sacramento, 5-0, in the state championship game Sunday at Golden West College.

Six years ago at Golden West, Cypress won its first state title with strong pitching leading the way.

So it seemed only fitting that Charger ace Jamie Wilkes would pitch a one-hitter against Sacramento, facing the minimum of 21 batters. Wilkes won her fourth game of the tournament, as did Cypress' Laura Corson in 1991.

Although Wilkes (39-4) baffled Sacramento, her teammates had no such problem, pounding out nine hits. Autumn Gwinner had two runs batted in, Kelly Humphries had two hits and two runs scored and Jill Tantardini had two hits and one RBI to lead the offense.

The Chargers broke the game open with a three-run third inning, before adding two more in the fourth to help Cypress (66-5) set a state record for single-season victories in winning its second title.

"This one is better than the last one," Cypress Coach Brad Pickler said. "You have to be lucky and good at the same time. Everything has to fall into place."

But earlier, everything seemed to be going right for Sacramento (64-8).

After ace Danielle Haag pitched a no-hitter to beat Palomar, 1-0, setting up the showdown with Cypress, Sacramento opted to start No. 2 pitcher Terri Shackelford against the Cypress in the first meeting. She outdueled Wilkes, 1-0, to force the final.

Shackelford was a little shaky, giving up three hits and five walks, but her defense turned four double plays and only one runner reached third.

Although the Chargers appeared snake-bit, Pickler said his team didn't get discouraged.

"That was only the second time we had been shut out all season," Pickler said.

And the Chargers weren't fazed about facing Haag (44-6) in the season finale. "We just said that no team is going to shut us out twice in a row," Pickler said.

Cypress scored three runs in the third, all with two outs. Gwinner hit an RBI single to right-center field and moved to third after an error. She scored on Michele Bailon's ground-rule double, knocking Haag out of the game.

Tantardini, who reached base in 12 of 16 plate appearances at the state tournament, singled sharply to left Shackelford off for a 3-0 lead, then Wilkes and the defense did the rest.

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