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Valley / Ventura County Sports

Whale Helps Chaminade Get Off the Hook, 1-0

Division IV: She doubles and scores in fourth inning, and the Eagles reach semifinals on LeCocq's one-hitter.


CHATSWORTH — It's been an unbelievable softball season for Chaminade High, but the Eagles' 1-0 victory over La Canada on Thursday was no fish story.

Courtney Whale, suffering all week from illness and kidney stones, doubled and scored in the fourth inning to spark top-seeded Chaminade in a Southern Section Division IV quarterfinal at Chaminade Middle School.

"I feel much better now," said Whale, a junior shortstop who entered the game batting .228 with two extra-base hits.

Whale led off the inning with a drive to the right-center field wall off sophomore right-hander Megan Stevens (9-5-1), moved to third on a bunt by Lauren Rousselet and scored when Christina Lupacchini looped a one-out single to center over a drawn-in infield.

That was plenty of offense for Stanford-bound right-hander Maureen LeCocq (21-2-1), who struck out eight and allowed only a fourth-inning single to Jamie Hurst, a walk and a hit batter.

Chaminade (23-6-1) will face Rosary (23-8), a 2-0 winner over Harvard-Westlake, next Tuesday in a semifinal at a neutral site to be determined.

Rosary upset short-handed Chaminade, 1-0, last season in the semifinals.

"We feel a lot stronger now," said LeCocq, who registered her 12th consecutive shutout, 18th overall. "Everything is going our way."

That wasn't the case last season, when All-Mission League infielder Lindsey Weinstein sat out the playoffs with a broken wrist, arm problems forced catcher Rousselet to the outfield and Coach Steve Harrington served a suspension after being ejected from a quarterfinal game.

"I'm just glad to coach in the semifinals," Harrington said. "I've never been there before."

Weinstein, batting leadoff and playing second base, had two hits against La Canada (20-8-1) and is seven for nine in the playoffs.

Rousselet, a senior who has committed to UC Santa Barbara, has been allowed to call LeCocq's pitches for the first time in her career, and the Eagles have won 19 in a row since struggling to a 4-6-1 record.

Among those victories were 1-0 decisions over Santa Ana Mater Dei and Thousand Oaks, who will play next week in the Division I semifinals.

La Canada, which eliminated Chaminade from the playoffs in 1997 with a 5-3 victory in 10 innings, has every reason to be optimistic.

With a lineup that included a freshman, five sophomores and two juniors, the Spartans claimed the Rio Hondo League championship.

"It's a very promising future," Coach Bart Dickens said. "We've got nothing to be ashamed of."

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