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Simi Valley Zeros In on Chaminade


CHATSWORTH — Three games into the post-Maureen LeCocq era and the Chaminade High softball team is still looking for a victory.

Against Simi Valley on Thursday, the Eagles would have settled for a run.

But the Pioneers snuffed out Chaminade's best scoring effort in the sixth inning and rallied in the eighth for a 2-0 victory in a nonleague game at Chaminade Middle School.

Simi Valley (3-1) bunched three of its four hits off Christina Lupacchini in the eighth inning.

Lupacchini (0-2) had no trouble with Simi Valley through regulation, striking out 13 and allowing only one runner to reach second base through seven innings.

But the Pioneers were all over the sophomore right-hander in the eighth.

"We've been telling the girls, 'We've got to be patient,' " Coach Suzanne Manlet said. "This was a big win for us. Chaminade is a great team."

For Chaminade Coach Steve Harrington, the loss was a difficult one considering Lupacchini's domination through seven innings.

But slow beginnings are nothing new for Chaminade (0-3), which started 1-5-1 the last two seasons.

Opening with a doubleheader against Division I power Mater Dei and following that a couple weeks later with nonleague games against perennial powerhouses Foothill and Cerritos will have that effect on a record.

"Good quality teams will allow you to find out the things you need to work on," Harrington said. "It wouldn't do us any good to play a bunch of blowouts. We wouldn't learn anything from that."

Against Simi Valley, the Eagles learned that 14 fly balls won't get it done.

Right-hander Jamie Astorino (2-1) of Simi Valley struck out none, but scattered four hits and walked two.

Astorino had stellar defensive support, especially in the sixth when Holly Lampert tried to score from first on Shannon Barceloux's double to right-center.

Second baseman Kolia Ponce took a relay throw from right fielder Melissa King in shallow right and fired a perfect one-hop strike to catcher Christina Haddad to nail Lampert.

"When it's there, it's there," Ponce said.

Then the Pioneers' offense arrived in the eighth.

King led off with a single to left and went to second on Cindy Gray's ground out. Nicole Brazier followed with single to left and Brittney Green was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Jenni Shields ripped a sharp ground ball to the left of Lupacchini, who made a futile stab at the ball and King scored.

Ponce singled up the middle to score Brazier for the second run.

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