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Notre Dame Short-Circuited

Softball: Brooks christens Knights' new field by helping Harvard-Westlake to 6-0 victory.


Notre Dame High christened its new softball facility on Wednesday, but it was Veronica Brooks of Harvard-Westlake who clearly found a home.

The sophomore, who has played six positions for the Wolverines, appears to be settling in at shortstop.

She handled five chances flawlessly against Notre Dame and her two-run single in the fourth inning broke a scoreless tie and sparked Harvard-Westlake to a 6-0 Mission League victory at Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Park.

"I'm very happy at shortstop," said Brooks, who has also played left field, center field, second base, third base and pitcher. "I really like it there."

She was pressed into duty at shortstop four games ago, when all-league pitcher Anna Russell was sidelined with a pulled hamstring and freshman shortstop and pitcher Elena Ferrero took over as the Wolverines' full-time pitcher.

Ferrero (7-3) won her third consecutive decision, striking out four and pitching a two-hitter.

She allowed a leadoff single to Patricia Wetzel in the first inning and a single by Veronica Arredondo in the sixth.

Ferrero was locked in a scoreless duel with right-hander Amanda De La Cerda (12-5) until the fourth, when Brooks lined a two-run single to left-center field for a 2-0 lead.

Ferrero added an RBI single in the fifth and scored on the same play when right fielder Alyssa Mazur over-ran the sharply hit ball.

Brooks, who was three for three, added an RBI single in the sixth and later scored on a groundout.

Ferrero and second baseman Kim Koral each had two hits for the Wolverines.

The Wolverines ruined the Knights' first game at a facility they renovated with the help of the city of Los Angeles.

While an opening ceremony isn't scheduled until next week, the field looked ready, with a freshly painted backstop, new fencing and a well-manicured infield.

If only the Knights looked half as ready.

They committed five errors and allowed four unearned runs to lose for the first time in nine games.

"I think we just had one of those days," Coach Cindy Kramer of Notre Dame said. "You can't blame any one person. It was contagious through the whole team today."

Harvard-Westlake (9-9, 4-1 in league play) broke a second-place tie with Notre Dame (14-5, 3-2).

The Wolverines probably will face defending champion Chaminade (11-6-1, 5-0) next Wednesday with first place up for grabs.

"We haven't won enough games to be talking about Chaminade," said Coach Terry Elledge of Harvard-Westlake, which must defeat Louisville (5-10, 1-4) on Friday to set up a game with championship implications.

Chaminade defeated the Wolverines, 2-0, on April 18 at Chaminade Middle School.

That game was Harvard-Westlake's first without Russell, who pitched her team to the Southern Section Division IV semifinals last season as a sophomore. She is listed as day to day.

Brooks seems more comfortable now.

She missed the first several games of the season while playing on the school's girls' basketball team, which advanced to the state Division III final.

The rust only recently started to wear off.

"It's been frustrating," said Brooks, who is six for her last 11.

"I wasn't hitting to my full potential, but now I'm finally finding my groove again."

And a home.

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