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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Kollen Is a Big Hit Against Camarillo

Softball: Mater Dei senior breaks Southern Section career hit record, helps hand Scorpions first loss.

April 16, 1998|MELANIE NEFF | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

FOUNTAIN VALLEY — Mater Dei's Kelsey Kollen had two softballs tucked under her arm after her team's 5-1 victory over Camarillo in the Fountain Valley tournament Wednesday at Mile Square Park.

The significance of the game balls is something Kollen said she never dreamed of as a freshman.

Kollen, a senior, sailed a line drive into left field in the sixth inning to break the Southern Section record for career hits. Kollen's hit was No. 207, breaking the record of 206, set in 1986 by Julie Smith of Covina Charter Oak.

"As a freshman, I had no idea about records. Coach let me know at the beginning of this season that I was close," said the second baseman, who has started every varsity softball game in four years for the Monarchs. "But it will be even better if we win it all this season."

The record is even sweeter for Kollen, who thinks she may see her single-season hit record of 67, set her sophomore year, fall. Woodbridge junior shortstop Natasha Watley has 34 hits this season.

"I think she will break it," said Kollen, who will attend Michigan next year. "She is really good and they have a great team."

Kollen, who was three for four in the game, tied the record in the top of the third inning with a leadoff bunt. She moved to second on a throwing error by Camarillo catcher Erika Francis. Shortstop Robin Walker then hit a line drive to the gap in left-center field that she turned into an inside-the-park home run, giving Mater Dei a 2-0 lead and scoring the first runs on Camarillo (8-1) since the first game of the season.

"They jumped on our mistakes, our change-ups that were hanging and our drops that weren't dropping," Camarillo Coach Miki Mangan said. "We weren't up emotionally and I was surprised at that. We didn't have our 'let's go out and kill them' attitude that we've had in every other game."

Camarillo was able to make contact in the early innings off Mater Dei's Tia Bollinger (4-0), but they were unable to get the ball out of the infield and the Monarch defense held them to only three hits, including a seventh inning home run by shortstop Jess Mendoza.

"They did what they are known for. They are a very good team," Mangan said. "We were hitting right at them, but we just couldn't find the holes."

The Monarchs (13-2) are ranked second in Division I. "We just had players that came out swinging today," Mater Dei Coach Doug Myers said. "[Camarillo] is a good team and they will be there in the end."

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