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Valley / Ventura County Sports

Delfino Delivers for Hart, 3-0

High School softball: Sophomore knocks in two runs against Quartz Hill.

May 20, 2000|DAVE DESMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEWHALL — Nicole Delfino's place in the Hart High softball lineup dropped faster than a technology stock.

The Indians' leadoff hitter at the start of the season struggled offensively until recently, when she was moved to ninth in the order.

Now, she's among the region's hottest hitters.

Delfino delivered the key hit on Friday, a two-run single in the second inning to spark Hart's 3-0 victory over Quartz Hill in a first-round game of the Southern Section Division II playoffs at Newhall Park.

Hart (22-5) will meet Baseline League champion Glendora, a 1-0 winner over Arlington on Friday, in a second-round game Tuesday at a site to be determined.

Delfino, a sophomore third baseman, didn't complain when she was dropped in the order.

How could she? Until two weeks ago, she was batting .135, and it probably would have been unwise to rock the boat as the Indians closed in on their third consecutive Foothill League championship.

"This is a team game," she said. "If I'm not going to be a team player, then it wouldn't be any fun."

Now that she has boosted her average 59 points with five hits in her last eight at-bats, perhaps it might be a good time to suggest a move back to the top of the lineup.

"Not a chance," Coach Cathy Giordano said. "Since we put her in the No. 9 spot, she's just been on fire. I love it. She's not moving."

Casey Pickard doubled and Erica Duhart singled to set up Delfino's two-run, line-drive single to left off Amanda Ricker (15-5). Duhart had two of Hart's six hits.

Delfino walked and scored on a Sara Dean single in the fifth to give Illinois-bound right-hander Amanda Fortune more than enough support.

Fortune (12-1) struck out eight, walked none and allowed only three singles, two by All-Valley outfielder Kellie Cox.

"I think we were a little intimidated by her reputation," co-Coach Ben Meyer of Quartz Hill (17-8) said of Fortune, who entered the game with a 0.16 earned-run average.

There were several subplots on Friday.

Giordano's daughter, Jeanine, was a freshman catcher at Washington in 1996, when Meyer's daughter, Heather, was a senior pitcher. The Huskies finished second in the nation that season.

First baseman Jocelyn Evans of Hart has committed to Cal State Fullerton and will be a teammate next season with former Quartz Hill standout Jodie Cox, The Times' two-time Valley player of the year and Kellie's older sister.

After the game, Giordano caught a flight for Tucson, where daughter Nicole and Arizona are playing in an NCAA regional.

Cox's family planned to return to Fresno this weekend, where Cal State Fullerton is playing in another regional.

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