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May 24, 2011 > Colts top Cougars, win MVAL

Colts top Cougars, win MVAL

By Nick Zambrano
Photo by Mike Heightchew

The first go-around could not have been scripted any better. A game so packed with suspense and action that it required extra innings to finish. With an ending that no one could have ever saw coming. With a hero that was ready to deliver.

Sounds like a synopsis of a Hollywood story but that's how James Logan's first win over Newark Memorial this season went down: a 3-2, nine inning game with the winning run scored on a squeeze play by slugger Jazmine Reed. Prior to the squeeze, Reed definitely felt the pressure pile on as she struck out three times - a hat trick of the less desired type.

However, Hollywood is a tricky mistress and the sequel to the game provided the same result. Logan prevailed 5-0 and clinched the 2011 Mission Valley Athletic League regular season championship. It is their second straight MVAL title and their fourth in the last five seasons.

Despite an excellent outing from Newark pitcher Marissa Chapa, the Lady Colts mustered up a four-run rally in the top half of the fifth inning. In typical Logan fashion, once the first run showed up on the scoreboard, the offense began to pour it on.

It looked as if Logan would strike right away in the first inning after Chapa allowed a walk to counterpart Raeann Garza. After stealing second, Garza ended up a third after a wild pitch to Jazmine Reed. In spite of that fortunate situation, Logan was unable to capitalize as Chapa rebounded to strike out the next three hitters she faced.

For the first four innings, Garza held the Lady Cougars' batting order in check. The sophomore allowed just two base runners and one single through four innings of play. On the other side of things, Chapa was equally efficient, allowing only Garza to reach base through four innings. She'd finished the game with a solid line consisting of 10 punch outs, five hits and two earned runs.

"They (Newark) came out strong. Chapa pitched great, she always does," said Garza about her opposition.

It was not until the fifth inning that things started to brew for the Lady Colts.

Right fielder Kimberly Goulart led off the inning with a line drive single but she ended up at second because of a passed ball. After a properly placed sacrifice bunt by Kelia Barkow, Goulart was at third with only one out.

Logan continued the trend of playing small ball with Marissa Perez's execution of a bunt single that blooped over the glove of Chapa. Goulart crossed the plate to give Logan the game's only lead and Perez stood safe at first.

A costly throwing by Newark third baseman Laurisa Hernandez let Tatyana Salazar to reached base safely but put another two runners in scoring position. Chapa caught a break and shook off Garza in the next at-bat for a strike out. But now she had to face Logan shortstop Jazmine Reed.

Coming into this costly at-bat, Reed was unable to bat on the ball effectively. In her last six plate appearances, the junior was a dismal 0-6 with three strike outs. It was the premiere time for the two-sport athlete to come through.

Not wasting anytime, Reed parked the first pitch she saw for a gaping two-run double to right center.

"It was huge for her because she has been in a slump. She's a great hitter but mentally she hasn't been there, so we got to get her back there mentally," Johnson said.

With the score now 3-0, the game was now wide open with Logan in full control. Reed's stay on the base paths was short lived due to a bloop single off the bat of three-spot hitter Alexis Martinez.

Newark made an attempt in their half of the inning to bounce back. Erica Contreras tried to stir the pot back in Newark's favor with a double to straight away center. A single from Katie Burdick helped Contreras get to third without an out against the Lady Cougars in the inning. However, Garza was able to patch up some damage when she struck out Regan Rodriguez swinging.

In an effort to scratch a run across the plate, Contreras headed for home after Oceana Acosta-Orndoff grounded out to short. But after a heads-up play from Barkow at first, Contreras was tagged out on the closest of plays at the plate. Contreras was the only Newark base runner to reach third for the game and the last chance they had at scoring a run.

Logan scored the game's final run on a RBI double from Garza, who finished the game with 1-2 at the plate while going the complete game in the circle with four strike outs, five hits and two walks.

"To me (winning league), it's a big deal but my goal is to win NCS again," Garza said. "We've got lots of confidence. This is a big win for us, a confidence booster."

This year's MVAL title marks the 15th in Johnson's illustrious career. Winning the league also guarantees a spot for Logan in this year's North Coast Section Championships. Last year, the Lady Colts cruised through Newark and Freedom to claim the title. The defending champs are likely to be this year's one seed again. For seeding and schedule, log onto the TCV Sports website, http://sports.tricityvoice.com.

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