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Camarillo's Number Belongs to Mater Dei

Southern Section softball: Scorpions suffer playoff loss to Monarchs for third time in last four seasons.


CAMARILLO — Most of the faces have changed. The result has not.

For the third time in four years, Mater Dei High ended Camarillo's softball season with a late-round victory in the Southern Section Division I playoffs.

This time, the Monarchs scored in the first inning and then relied on the pitching arm of Marissa Young to secure a 1-0 quarterfinal victory Thursday at Camarillo.

"We were so pumped for this game because they knock us out every year," said Alana Mendoza, Camarillo's shortstop. "We all thought this year is going to be it."

It wasn't.

Mater Dei (27-4), which will face Thousand Oaks in a semifinal Tuesday, wasn't ready to comply with the Scorpions' wishes.

Least of all Young, who has been instrumental in all three of the Monarchs' postseason victories over Camarillo (21-7) in the last four years.

As a freshman, Young, who is headed to Michigan on scholarship, pitched a two-hitter against Camarillo in the 1996 championship game.

Three years later, Young is still giving Camarillo problems, both in the circle and in the batter's box.

Young singled to right to lead off the first inning, advanced to second on a sacrifice by Christina Clark and took third on a ground out by Courtney Betley.

Three pitches later, Ruby Rojas roped a line drive inches above the glove of Mendoza, a 5-foot-3 junior, to drive in Young.

"At that moment I was like, it would be so nice if I was Nicki Holt's height (5-9) right now," Mendoza said. "I wouldn't even have to jump."

Young (16-2), a right-hander, took care of the rest, allowing three hits and striking out 10.

"Her ball was moving a lot," Mendoza said. "Everyone came [into the dugout] saying, 'God, it moves so much.' "

Young was at her best when Camarillo got its leadoff batter on in the third and sixth.

In the third, Kim Kaspar singled up the middle for the first of her two hits. She stole second base and advanced to third on a passed ball, but Young struck out the next three batters to end the threat.

In the sixth, Holt reached on an infield single but was stranded by a strikeout and two infield pop-ups.

The loss spoiled an admirable performance by Camarillo's Kathryn Nevard (16-7), who allowed three hits, struck out five and hit a batter.

"They really got on me in the first; I was like 'OK, calm down,' " said Nevard, a junior right-hander and one of region's top pitchers.

She allowed no hits over the next five innings.

"We'll get over [the loss]," Nevard said. "Hopefully we can beat them in my senior year."

Based on recent history, chances are good Nevard will get the chance.

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