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Angelo Has Right Stuff, But Effort Goes to Waste

Marmonte: Newbury Park prevails, 2-1, despite dominating performance by Thousand Oaks ace.


THOUSAND OAKS — Nicole Angelo of Thousand Oaks High never looked better.

Newbury Park batters were so baffled by her pitches, many were still trying to figure out strike three as it whizzed past them.

Angelo sent 10 batters back to the Newbury Park bench on strikeouts, quite a feat considering the Panthers are among the best hitting teams in the region.

Unfortunately for Angelo, Newbury Park bunched its four hits into two one-run innings and held on for a 2-1 victory Thursday in a Marmonte League softball game at Thousand Oaks Community Park.

"Nicole pitched an outstanding game," Newbury Park Coach Pete Ackermann said. "She kept us off-balance all day. Fortunately, we were able to push over two runs."

Angelo (3-2), whose last six strikeouts came on called third strikes, worked the corners and kept the Panthers off-balance with a crafty changeup. Her efforts weren't lost on Coach Gary Walin.

"About the third or fourth inning I said to the girls, 'Look, Nicole's got good stuff today, ladies. Let's not waste it,' " Walin said. "You couldn't ask for a better pitching performance."

Thousand Oaks rallied often, but left runners in scoring position in the first, sixth and seventh innings.

"We had our opportunities," Walin said.

Newbury Park (9-1, 3-0 in league play) scored in the first inning. Nancy Pabon singled with one out, advanced to second on a stolen base and went to third when catcher Michelle Spencer's throw went into center field.

Two batters later, Katie Stokx singled for a 1-0 lead.

After stranding a runner at third in the first, Thousand Oaks missed another opportunity to tie the score in the second when a suicide-squeeze attempt went awry.

With Sheridan Fowler at third and one out, Brandi Cope's bunt bounced straight up in front of the plate. Fowler hesitated and was caught in a rundown before being tagged out by shortstop Oli Keohohou.

"We got a bad break on the squeeze," Walin said.

After Stokx singled in the first, Angelo retired 14 consecutive batters until Keohohou singled to left with one out in the sixth.

Keohohou advanced to second on a single by Pabon, stole third and scored when Spencer's throw got past shortstop Lacey Cope.

Thousand Oaks (7-4, 1-2) answered with a run in its half of the sixth. Jenny Cochran, who led off the inning with a bloop single to right, advanced to second on a sacrifice and went to third on a single by Vanessa Hanson.

Shawna Lane's ground ball to shortstop was bobbled by Keohohou for an error and Cochran scored easily.

Later in the inning, with the bases loaded and two out, Keohohou fielded Kim Martin's blooper up the middle and stepped on second for a force out to end the inning.

Thousand Oaks had the tying run at third with two out in the seventh, but Spencer grounded out to end the game.

Stokx (6-0) allowed five hits and struck out three for Newbury Park.

Catcher Darlene Stokx, Katie's older sister, did an excellent job of scooping up pitches in the dirt. She also threw out a runner attempting to steal in the fourth.

"Darlene is the best defensive catcher in the league, bar none," Ackermann said. "Anytime you can throw out Thousand Oaks runners . . . you're doing a good job."

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