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TOURNAMENT

LeCocq Carries Chaminade Past Mighty Mater Dei

May 09, 1999|PAIGE A. LEECH

It wasn't a Southern Section title Chaminade High won Saturday. Indeed, for many of the Eagles, it was more.

Chaminade ace Maureen LeCocq threw a four-hitter and Chaminade upset nationally ranked Mater Dei, 1-0, in the championship game of the Thousand Oaks tournament's Green Bracket at Los Cerritos Middle School in Thousand Oaks.

"Always in the back of mind, I've wanted this game more than anything else this whole year," said LeCocq, who along with her teammates celebrated on the field as if it were a World Series title.

Chaminade (17-6-1), which has won 13 consecutive games, scored in the top of the eighth with the international rule applied, then pulled off a dramatic double play to end the game.

"To come out here and beat Mater Dei like this. Wow, what an accomplishment," Coach Steve Harrington said. "This is a big win. This is a huge win."

Mater Dei (24-3), ranked No. 5 in the nation, swept Chaminade, 3-0 and 7-0, in a doubleheader nearly two months ago.

But that was with Stanford-bound LeCocq sitting on the bench nursing a shoulder she had dislocated three days earlier.

"Whenever your All-American pitcher is not in the circle it's hard to beat a nationally ranked team," Harrington said. "When [LeCocq] is in the circle, the girls want to win."

In the eighth, Courtney Whale, the Eagles' last out of the seventh, started the inning running at second base. Amanda Pearlman's pinch bunt went for a single, advancing Whale to third.

Christina Lupacchini, another pinch-hitter, grounded to short to score Whale.

LeCocq, who struck out four and was chosen most valuable player of the tournament, shut down Mater Dei in the bottom of the eighth with some defensive help.

Mater Dei's Renee Snyder started the bottom half of the eighth inning running at second and advanced to third on Casie Phillips' sacrifice. Michigan-bound Marisa Young, who was named the outstanding hitter of the tournament, followed with a ground ball to second baseman Weinstein, who nailed Snyder at the plate. Young, continuing on to second on the play, was thrown out by catcher Lauren Rousselet to end the game.

"We wanted it so bad because we were the underdog," LeCocq said. "It's always an advantage because there's nothing to lose."

It was the second game decided by the international rule Saturday for Chaminade, which beat Thousand Oaks, 1-0, in an eight-inning semifinal. Amy Biersch provided the winning hit with a chopper over the third baseman's head to score Erin Taylor.

Mater Dei defeated Hart, 2-0, in a semifinal.

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