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Hart Collects Itself Against Highland, 3-0


NEWHALL — No more obsession with batting averages. No muttering about playing time.

At Hart High, the only numbers that matter are in the win column, and playing time will be measured by extended play in the softball postseason.

"We had way too many individuals last year," Coach Cathy Giordano said Tuesday after a 3-0 nonleague victory over Highland at Newhall Park. "Say what you want, but that hurts a team."

The Indians (5-1), ranked No. 3 in the region by The Times, marched out their sixth different lineup on Tuesday and took advantage of three sixth-inning errors by Highland to break open a scoreless game.

Auburn-bound catcher Sara Dean provided the decisive blow, a two-run double to score Kristin Lueke and Nicole Delfino. Dean later scored on an error.

One run would have been enough for Casey Pickard (2-0), who struck out six, walked four and allowed only one hit, a ground single by Shannon Doepking in the fourth.

Nichole Rawson (3-2) of Highland, who has committed to Marist, pitched well enough to win, allowing only one runner to reach second through five innings.

In the sixth, Lueke slapped a single up the middle for her second hit. Delfino followed with a tapper to first. She stopped before being tagged, forcing freshman first baseman Stephanie Sanchez to throw wild to first.

The play left runners on second and third and set the table for Dean's double.

With a three-run deficit, the Bulldogs were done.

Highland (4-2), traditionally one of the region's best offensive teams, entered batting lower than .200. Doepking's single was the only ball the Bulldogs hit out of the infield.

Pickard, who has committed to Pittsburgh, allowed only one ball hit out of the infield last week in a 5-0 shutout of Marmonte League favorite Thousand Oaks.

Impressive, yes. But even she must share time with Oregon-bound left-hander Lindsay Kontra.

No complaints.

"I take away from her time and she takes away from mine," Pickard said. "It's not about the other stuff. It's about winning and playing as a team."

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