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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Hart Thrown for a Loss by Fossatti, 1-0

Foothill Invitational: She pitches a one-hitter and host Knights advance to final.

April 15, 2001|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — Courtney Fossatti said she knew after one pitch that she brought her Grade-A game with her. It may have taken Hart batters a little longer, but they eventually knew, too.

Fossatti of Foothill High turned the matchup between the top-ranked softball team in Orange County and the top-ranked team in the San Fernando Valley region by The Times into a personal showcase, striking out 12 in a one-hit, 1-0 victory over Hart in a Foothill Invitational game.

Fossatti, coming off a perfect game earlier in the week against Santa Ana Valley, was even more impressive given the level of competition.

Hart (14-2), ranked No. 3 in the nation to Foothill's No. 1 by SchoolSports.com, managed only two baserunners, and one of those was thrown out trying to steal.

Fossatti faced one batter over the minimum in ending Hart's 10-game winning streak.

"She was the best we've faced this year," said Hart assistant coach Steve Calendo, filling in for Coach Cathy Giordano, who was watching her daughter, Nicole, play for Arizona.

Arizona is where Fossatti (10-1) will be next season. She struck out five of the first six batters, including five in a row, before Lorian Jenkins singled up the middle.

"The hit they got, Fossatti jammed [Jenkins] and she muscled it into left field," Foothill Coach Joe Gonzalez said. "Fossatti was awesome."

Hart's only other baserunner, Sara Dean, got aboard on a one-out error in the fourth inning.

Fossatti struck out six of the next eight batters while retiring 10 in a row.

"I knew it was a big game," said Fossatti, who has two perfect games this season. "That first pitch was a strike and I just built off that momentum. [Catcher] Jamie Dotson did a great job behind the plate."

Autumn Champion had a good view from center field of Fossatti's 92 pitches, 62 of them strikes.

"She was hitting her spots really well and really put the pressure on them," Champion said.

Champion drove in Tiffany Haas in the second inning with a soft line-drive single over the second baseman.

It was one of four hits in the inning against Casey Pickard (8-1) of Hart, who escaped most of the trouble she got into. She never retired the side in order but stranded seven runners in five innings before giving way to Ashley Calendo. Foothill had seven runners reach second base.

"[Pickard] threw the tough pitches when she had to," Steve Calendo said. "The defense picked her up. But we couldn't solve Fossatti."

Champion, who was batting .563, and Caitlin Lowe, batting .531, each had two hits for Foothill.

Fossatti had the only extra-base hit, a fifth-inning triple, among Foothill's eight hits.

It was the last pool-play game of the tournament, which had its second day rained out last weekend. Foothill, which will play for the title, and Hart will play their final games at a date to be determined.

"We don't like losing, but we gained confidence," Steve Calendo said. "They swept us badly [7-0, 7-1] last year in a doubleheader. This was a measuring stick. We know we can play with them, we know we're a good team, and we're looking forward to playing them again [in the Southern Section Division II playoffs]."

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