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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

One Good Pitch Is All Cox Needs to Top Palmdale

Softball: Quartz Hill junior throws one-hitter and has 10 strikeouts to go with home run in 1-0 victory.

April 17, 1998|PAIGE A. LEECH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PALMDALE — As her legend grows in the Antelope Valley, Jodie Cox of Quartz Hill High is seeing fewer and fewer good pitches.

On Thursday against Palmdale, she saw only one good pitch.

But one proved plenty for Quartz Hill as Cox sent the flat riseball deep in right-center field for a home run in the fourth inning in the Rebels' 1-0 victory in a Golden League game at Palmdale.

"It was in my zone," said Cox, who walked in her other two at-bats.

Cox (12-2), a junior left-hander and the league's two-time most valuable player, was in a zone and on her game against Palmdale, throwing a one-hitter, striking out 10 and walking none.

"I felt a little off, but I got into a groove and stuck with what was working for me," said Cox, who kept the ball down by throwing a mix of dropballs and changeups.

Cox and her teammates made quick work of Palmdale, needing one hour and 15 minutes to defeat the Falcons (10-5, 1-1 in league play), who shared the league title with Quartz Hill last year.

The Rebels (12-2-1, 2-0), who had four hits and left three runners in scoring position, scored all they needed on Cox's blast with one out in the fourth.

After taking a pitch for a strike on a 3-0 count, Cox turned on chest-high pitch and ripped it into the outfield.

"It doesn't have to be in her zone for her to hit it, but that one sure was," Quartz Hill Coach Coy Ray said.

"And, my gosh, she crushed that one. It looked like a golf ball going out."

Said Cox, who has five home runs: "I hadn't had good pitches previously, but I was sitting back and waiting for that pitch basically."

Palmdale's best chance to score came in the fourth.

Kristi DiMarco of Palmdale, one of the fastest players in the region, reached on a high infield chopper over Cox's head to lead off the inning.

DiMarco, who leads the region with 21 stolen bases, stole second on the next pitch and advanced to third on a sacrifice by Mikki Goldwater.

Nadine Klemenz tried to squeeze DiMarco, who was charging on the pitch. Cox fielded the bunt about eight feet in front of the plate and lunged to tag out a sliding DiMarco.

"I didn't hear anybody [say anything]," Cox said. "But if [Klemenz] is bunting and [DiMarco's] on third, [DiMarco's] going to get there in a hurry.

"Once she's on base, there's no stopping her."

After Cox stopped DiMarco, Klemenz tried to advance to an unmanned second base while Cox was walking back to the circle. But Cox's speedy younger sister Kellie came charging in from shallow center field, took the throw from Jodie and tagged out Klemenz for the third out.

Cox retired the first and last nine she faced.

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