In its showdown game with Santa Rosa for the lead in the NBL Softball race, Maria Carrillo didn’t show much offense.
Once again they didn’t need to.
Robin Johnson pitched another complete game, not allowing a run until the seventh inning, to lead Maria Carrillo to a 3-1 win over Santa Rosa and give them a one game lead with two to go.
Johnson was usual her dominating self, especially during the first five innings in which she allowed just two base runners, one on a ground ball single through the infield and the other on an error. She also had seven of her eight strikeouts.
In didn’t take Maria Carrillo long to get her some offense. Brittney Veler led off the game by hitting a little blooper to right center that looked like a routine pop up. The ball found open territory and Veler hustling all the way, was in at second with a double. Johnson followed with an infield hit that was mishandled, allowing Veler to score and give Maria Carrillo a 1-0 lead.
For a while it looked like that would be all the offense we would see. Santa Rosa’s Denia Vera matched zero for zero with Johnson. In fact for a long stretch she was a little better retiring twelve straight after the infield single by Johnson. The streak was broken on an error which led off the fifth. That opened the door slightly for Maria Carrillo and they took advantage when Malia Donovan laced a double in the left center field gap that scored Aspen Waddle on a close play at the plate.
Maria Carrillo would play small ball to get Donovan home. Lauren Pieoff bunted her to third and after Amanda Walker reached base on a bunt single and then stole second, Donovan scored on a ground out by Veler to make it a 3-0 game.
It turned out Maria Carrillo needed the rally as Santa Rosa got four of its five hits against Johnson in the fifth and sixth inning. Johnson escaped trouble in the sixth, leaving runners at second and third. In the seventh Santa Rosa got its only run when Johanna Peelan one hopped the left center field fence for a one out double and scored on a bad hop RBI infield single by Briana Rine. Santa Rosa had the tying runs on but Johnson got the last out to give Maria Carrillo sole possession of first place.
Johnson is 14-3 on the season and her ERA is 1.10. She is used to the kind of pitching duel that this game was. One of the big wins of the season was a 1-0 win at Rancho Cotate.
Maria Carrillo has a seven game winning and it 16-5 on the season. The win over Santa Rosa was not the only good news for them. In one of the shocking scores of the season, Rancho Cotate was defeated 10-0 by Casa Grande to drop the Cougars two games back in the NBL race, one game behind Santa Rosa. Rancho Cotate is at Santa Rosa on Thursday.
Maria Carrillo, who is the NBL Softball defending champions, can clinch at least a tie for the crown on Thursday when they travel to Montgomery.
While the Maria Carrillo softball team moves closer to winning its NBL crown. It is the school’s baseball team’s turn today. They host Montgomery today, where a win will sew up that championship. Maria Carrillo has a two game lead over Montgomery with two games to go.
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