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Thousand Oaks Falls Short in New Setting

May 31, 2000|CHARLES RICH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

THOUSAND OAKS — With no recent luck in reaching the Southern Section Division I softball championship game, Thousand Oaks High set out to make a successful bid at the Division II title this season.

Losing to powerhouses like Mater Dei and Upland in the Division I semifinals the last two seasons gave Thousand Oaks hope when it was moved down a level last summer because of school enrollment.

Those hopes were dashed Tuesday when Nicole Maddox slugged a two-run home run in the seventh inning, lifting top-seeded Cerritos (30-2) over the Lancers, 2-1, in a semifinal game at Acorn Acres Park.

Cerritos, the defending Division II champion, will play Corona in the championship game . It marks the fourth time in five seasons that the Dons have reached the title game.

The Lancers (24-2), which last appeared in a championship game in 1987, couldn't muster much offense against Jessica van der Linden. The Florida State-bound left-hander struck out 15 and allowed six hits.

Thousand Oaks scored on a one-out double by Jenny Cochran in the seventh, but Cochran was thrown out at third on the play.

"I'd say that was a pretty darn exciting seventh inning," Coach Gary Walin said. "We didn't do too bad against van der Linden. We let her off the hook a couple of times, and their two best players made it happen for them."

Walin said he didn't regret having Cochran try to gain the extra base.

"It was a bang-bang play," he said. "It was a great relay from their shortstop and they made the play."

Thousand Oaks starter Nicole Angelo (25-5), who threw two shutouts in the playoffs, matched van der Linden pitch for pitch through six innings.

Angelo gave up a triple to van der Linden with one out in the seventh before Maddox's blast to left-center field.

"I've been in situations like this before," said Angelo, who struck out eight. "It was really stressful today. They have a good team and they deserved to win."

Michelle Spencer, Shawna Lane, Sheridan Fowler, Cochran, Joey McKearn and Andi Keesling each had one hit for the Lancers.

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