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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Quartz Hill's 2-0 Victory Another Sign of Times

Softball: Rebels, searching for seventh Golden title in 1990s, hand Highland first defeat in league play.

April 22, 1998|DAVE DESMOND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

QUARTZ HILL — The writing is on the wall, prominently featured beyond right-center field at Quartz Hill High.

That's where a sign hangs in recognition of the Rebels' nine Golden League softball titles, including six in the 1990s.

On Tuesday, they took a giant step toward their seventh of the decade and third in a row with a 2-0 victory over Highland.

"This was big, very big," said Quartz Hill left-hander Jodie Cox, who struck out eight and retired the final 15 batters. "But we know it's not over, that we can get beat by anybody in this league at any time."

Highland (13-3, 2-1 in league play) is the best candidate to unseat Quartz Hill (13-2-1, 3-0).

The Bulldogs, ranked sixth in the region by The Times, defeated third-ranked Quartz Hill, 3-1, in the semifinals of the Hart tournament March 14. Quartz Hill (13-2-1) answered two weeks ago with a 5-0 victory for the championship of the High Desert Classic.

"I think we're pretty even," said Bulldog Coach Glenda Potts, whose team is searching for its first league title. "We don't want them to be able to put another [championship] sign up there. It's not over yet. We still face them again."

Highland, with seven starters batting above .300, had four hits in the first three innings against Cox (12-2), two-time league most valuable player, but could not push a runner beyond second base.

Cox lowered her earned-run average to 0.20 and Quartz Hill showed with sound defense and a strong offense it is not quite ready to hand over its crown.

"This is the best all-around team we've had here," said Quartz Hill co-Coach Ben Meyer, who compared his team to the 1991 Rebel team that reached the Southern Section Division I final.

But Highland boasts its best team and defending league co-champion Palmdale lost a 1-0 game to the Rebels last week.

Quartz Hill, once miles ahead of its league competition, has seen the gap reduced to about two feet.

On Tuesday, those feet belonged to Shauna Murray, who kick-started Quartz Hill's offense.

The senior left fielder led off the third with a single, was sacrificed to second by Crista Galier and took third on a pitch in the dirt.

Murray gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly to center by Andrea Cabriales.

It wasn't the first time Murray helped Quartz Hill with her feet.

She earned a scholarship to Cal State Bakersfield after helping the Rebels win a league title in soccer, and was varsity kicker on the football team.

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