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Wolverines' Mission Near Completion

High school softball: Harvard-Westlake beats Chaminade, 5-1, to close in on first league title.


CHATSWORTH — So much for those concerns about a letdown.

After his team's emotional extra-inning victory over Chaminade High on Monday, Coach Terry Elledge of Harvard-Westlake was worried about his team's frame of mind for the rematch.

But the Wolverines appeared as focused as ever in a 5-1 victory Wednesday over the Eagles in a critical Mission League game at Chaminade Middle School.

The victory gave Harvard-Westlake (16-4, 6-0 in league) a two-game lead over Chaminade (9-11, 4-2).

The Wolverines, ranked No. 5 in the region, need two victories in their final four games to claim their first league title in the program's 25-year history.

Pitcher Anna Russell of Harvard-Westlake (14-2) admitted it wasn't her best performance.

But her three-hitter was impressive considering she went the distance in her team's 2-1 victory Monday over Chaminade in 12 innings.

"I was not as sharp as I usually am because I'm not in travel ball shape," Russell said. "But I was effective because I used my other pitches well."

She was effective enough to scatter only three hits and didn't allow a hit after the third inning.

After coming through with the game-winning hit Monday, Russell drove in Harvard-Westlake's first run Wednesday on a fielder's choice in the second inning.

The Wolverines scored their final run in a four-run outburst in the third when Chaminade shortstop Courtney Whale bobbled a grounder by Russell.

She also had a single in her final at-bat in the fifth.

"She just has a lot of desire," Elledge said. "She just has a mental toughness that you can't coach."

Sophomore first baseman Elena Ferrero, the team's leading hitter, also had two hits for the Wolverines, including a run-scoring double in the third.

Chaminade's prospects appeared dim from the start Wednesday after pitcher Christina Lupacchini was forced to sit out because of a blister and jammed thumb on her right, throwing, hand that she suffered in Monday's game.

Harvard-Westlake scored all of its runs in the first three innings off Kate Levine, who was making her first varsity appearance after pitching for the junior varsity team.

Chaminade received an impressive relief appearance by Lindsay Frame, who was pitching for the first time in two years. She didn't allow a run and gave up two hits in four innings.

"I spoke to her two days ago and told her we were hurting and asked her if she would consider throwing," Coach Steve Harrington of Chaminade said. "She made me real proud."

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