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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Loaded Hart Unloads on Chaminade

Softball: Fortune pitches a three-hitter and Indians take advantage of five errors, 9-0.

March 22, 2000|DAVE DESMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEWHALL — Exactly how good is Hart High's softball team?

A doubleheader this weekend at nationally recognized Southern Section power Foothill might tell for sure.

Certainly, the Indians have stood up to every challenge thrown at them by this region's best.

On Tuesday, they routed defending Division IV champion Chaminade, 9-0, in a nonleague game at Newhall Park.

Hart (7-0) has defeated traditional area powers Highland (twice), Westlake and Hoover, among others.

"We're confident," said junior Sara Dean, the Indians' top hitter with a .400 average. "We have pitching, we have defense, we have everything."

Everything includes eight starters from a Foothill League co-championship team that advanced to the Division II quarterfinals last year.

First baseman Jocelyn Evans has committed to Cal State Fullerton, Dean is one of the region's top catchers, and few teams can match the left-side defense of third baseman Nicole Delfino and shortstop Carly Caldaronello.

Senior right-hander Amanda Fortune (4-0) has committed to Illinois, but must share time with Lindsey Kontra, Casey Pickard and Bridgett Colleran, pitchers who would start full-time at many other schools.

Against Chaminade, Fortune escaped jams in the first and second innings and retired 14 of the final 15 batters to register her fourth shutout.

Fortune struck out five and walked one in a three-hitter. In 28 innings this season, she has not allowed a run.

Second baseman Stacey Holbrook had two hits and five others had one for Hart, which took advantage of five Chaminade errors to score six unearned runs.

The Indians broke open a 3-0 game with five runs in the fifth, three scoring on bases-loaded walks by pitcher Christina Lupacchini (0-3) of Chaminade.

The Eagles had five baserunners in the first two innings.

It's been a familiar start for Chaminade (1-4), which began each of the last two seasons 1-5-1.

The Eagles, who play arguably the region's toughest nonleague schedule, rallied to advance to the division semifinals in 1998 and won the title last season, so this isn't time for panic.

"But we have to play better than this," said Coach Steve Harrington, whose team has lost twice to Mater Dei and once to Simi Valley. "In one afternoon, we went from the top of the Grand Canyon to the absolute bottom."

And Hart continues to move right to the top.

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