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Simi Valley Dampens Kennedy's Hopes, 3-2

Softball: Pioneers win their own tournament for the third straight year in a game of unearned runs.


SIMI VALLEY — One team battled the rain, the other a watered-down schedule.

So it was little surprise that both looked a bit rusty Saturday during Simi Valley High's 3-2 victory over Kennedy in the championship game of the Simi Valley tournament at Rancho Simi Community Park.

Fittingly, the floodgates were opened for both sides by errors.

Simi Valley (10-2), which until Monday had gone two weeks without playing a game, scored its runs in the first inning after the Golden Cougars misplayed a bunt.

Kennedy (10-2), which routed Birmingham, 26-0, on Friday, answered with unearned runs in the second and fifth innings.

"We managed to hold them off and that was the most important thing," said Coach Suzanne Manlet of Simi Valley, whose team won its tournament for the third consecutive season and seventh time since 1991.

Kennedy, which was averaging eight runs, managed only one hit against junior right-hander Brittney Green, an infield single by No. 9 batter Marianne Trujillo in the third.

Green struck out 10 but walked four, and the Pioneer defense committed four errors, forcing her to work out of trouble on several occasions.

She induced No. 3 hitter Marlena Aguirre to ground out with runners on second and third to end the fifth, then struck out Teena Garcia with a runner on third to end the sixth.

"We left a lot of runners on base," said pitcher Patty Del Real of Kennedy, whose team stranded four in scoring position. "Our bats just didn't come through today."

Del Real (9-2) kept Kennedy close, pitching a three-hitter. The senior left-hander struck out six, walked one and retired the final 14 batters.

The Pioneers, ranked No. 7 in the region by The Times, needed to right themselves after consecutive losses to Marina and Chaminade in the Righetti tournament.

Simi Valley plays No. 1 Newbury Park and No. 5 Westlake next week in Marmonte League games.

"This week is this week, next week is next week," Green said. "We're ready."

Simi Valley scored in the first on a run-scoring single by Jenni Shields, the tournament's most valuable player, and a two-run double by Kolia Ponce.

The hits, which came with two out, followed a bunt by Casie Loughrey, who reached base when second baseman Cynthia Barraza was handcuffed by Del Real's throw to first.

Rebekah Todd had Simi Valley's other hit, a single in the second.

Kennedy scored its first run when freshman Kristin Cookson led off the second with a walk, stole second, went to third when catcher Shields' throw went into short center field and scored when second baseman Ponce's throw to third base got past Loughrey.

The Golden Cougars closed to 3-2 in the fifth when Monique Acedo's two-out fly to left was dropped by Diana Michael, allowing Eileen Solano to score from second.

Kennedy, favored to win its fourth consecutive North Valley League championship, had barely been challenged by its schedule and outscored 11 previous opponents, 88-10.

The Golden Cougars' only other loss was a 1-0 decision to El Camino Real.

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