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Simi Valley Slides to Victory in 9th


SIMI VALLEY — The umpire saw it one way, Thousand Oaks High coaches and fans saw it another.

Simi Valley scored on a controversial play in the ninth inning for a dramatic 4-3 victory over Thousand Oaks on Tuesday in a Marmonte League softball matchup at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park.

With the score tied, 3-3, in the bottom of the ninth, one out and the bases loaded, Dawn Carifi of Simi Valley hit a comebacker to Nicole Angelo, who threw home to force out a sliding Lori Tande.

Catcher Michelle Spencer turned to throw to first for an inning-ending double play but became entangled with Tande. Spencer was knocked over and her throw sailed down the right-field foul line, allowing Tracie Hall to score the winning run.

Thousand Oaks coaches immediately bolted from the dugout to argue about the slide. A Lancer fan came through the dugout and onto the field to complain.

The two umpires conferred for several minutes but the play stood and the game was over.

Thousand Oaks Coach Gary Walin, who watched his team overcome a 3-2 deficit to pull even in the seventh, was furious.

"[The umpire] was so damn worried about the time," Walin said. "He was checking his watch every five minutes because he had another game to do."

Lancer coaches claimed Tande slid well inside of the foul line, over the inside of the plate and hooked Spencer's leg with a kick at the end of the slide. They even pointed out the slide marks left by Tande.

Tande, who singled to start the inning, said she didn't think there was anything illegal about her slide.

"I wasn't going in trying to take out the catcher," Tande said. "I was going in to break up the play. That's what you're supposed to do in that situation."

Tande's defensive miscues two innings earlier helped Thousand Oaks (11-5-1, 5-4 in league play) tie the game.

Tande, a senior shortstop, dropped a routine pop fly by Kim Martin to start the seventh. With two out and runners at first and second, Tande fielded Colleen Spencer's grounder and threw wildly to third. The ball ended up in the dugout, allowing Martin to score.

Simi Valley (19-2, 7-2), which lost, 2-1, to Thousand Oaks a month ago, pounded 11 hits off three Lancer pitchers, but had trouble scoring after the second inning.

The Pioneers scored a run in the first and two in the second on four hits to claim a 3-0 lead.

The Lancers answered with a run in the fourth and another in the sixth off Brittney Green (10-1), who allowed seven hits and struck out five.

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