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May 31, 2011 > Logan and Newark advance in Division I NCS

Logan and Newark advance in Division I NCS

By Nick Zambrano, Photo by Mike Heightchew

After recording impressive marks in the 2011 Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) season, both James Logan and Newark Memorial high schools were rewarded with first round byes in the North Coast Section (NCS) Division I softball championship. Newark was awarded the third seed after posting a 21-3 overall record and a 10-2 MVAL record. Logan, the defending NCS champs, was awarded the top seed in the tournament due to their 21-3 and 12-0 records.

Both teams were in quarterfinal action on Friday, May 27, and both were victorious. Logan dominated Castro Valley in their game, 8-1, while Newark squeaked by Antioch, 1-0.

After starting out slow against Castro Valley pitcher Baylee Johnson, the Lady Colts finally cracked the scoreboard on a sacrifice fly from pitcher Raeann Garza in the bottom half of the third inning. Castro Valley responded, however, in the top of the fourth.

After Melina Huey led off the inning with a single to right field, the Lady Trojans started to build some momentum. Huey moved to second after a fielder's choice to short by Kristen Koslosky pulled Lady Colts' first baseman Kelia Barkow off the bag. With one out, Castro Valley struck back on a single from Kayla Burfadeci that scored Huey. Despite tying the game up, Castro Valley got caught being greedy.

Because of an excellent throw from right fielder Kimberly Goulart to the plate, Koslosky held up on her wide turn from third. Aware of the wide turn, Logan catcher Caley Bonansea fired back to third and caught Koslosky in a pickle. Koslosky forced Bonansea and Clarissa Blaquera to exchange the ball twice before she was called out at third.

During the pickle, Burfadeci saw an opportunity to advance but a head's up play by Blaquera caught her leaning and she was picked off a second. All it took was your standard 9-2-5-2-5-4 double play for Logan to avoid any further damage from the Castro Valley lineup.

After the ever-interesting fourth inning, Garza went into cruise control and held the Lady Trojans hitless for the remainder of the game. Logan's sophomore ace finished the game with five strikeouts with two hits allowed.

The Lady Colts, now up 2-1, cracked the game open in their half of the fifth with solid production from the heart of their lineup. After nine-place hitter Tatyana Salazar led off the inning with a single, Garza kept the hit brigade going with a single of her own. The table was now set for Jazmine Reed, who has had a knack for coming through in these clutch moments.

Not wasting anytime, Reed sent a rocket to deep right center and hustled her around third for a triple. Crossing the plate, Garza and Salazar made it a 4-1 game.

"Well, we talked about how everybody has to hit and everybody has got to come through," said Logan head coach Teri Johnson. "And Jazzy (Reed) could always hit the ball and she's been hitting the ball well."

Reed would score on the following play on a single by Alexis Martinez in the next at-bat. In turn, Martinez scored on a throwing error by Castro Valley first baseman that allowed Melina Rodriguez to take second and Bonansea to reach third. Kimberly Goulart kept the party going with her RBI double that made it 7-1 in Logan's favor. A sacrifice fly scored Rodriguez for the game's final run.

"It feels good," Johnson said of the win. "The thing is Castro Valley, we knew they were going to be good. They came out really strong today and I've got to give accolades to them. We are just really together right now and we're not going to back down. We've been strong and we're going to keep playing strong."

Moving into the semifinals, the Lady Colts will face Heritage High on Wednesday, June 1. Heritage's road to the semis has consisted of wins against Berkeley and Freedom high schools. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

In typical fashion, it was pitching and defense that helped Newark prevail against Antioch.

Marissa Chapa led the charge from the circle, recording nine strike outs and allowing just four hits in the complete game shutout. It's only the third time all year that the Lady Panthers have been held scoreless in a game. She out-dueled Antioch star Paris Imholz, who was 16-5 on the year with an ERA of 1.01 and 177 strike outs.

After getting hit by a pitch in the third inning, Regan Rodriguez would score the game's only run. She advanced to second on a single by Chapa. Being a heads-up base runner, Rodriguez caught eye of an error by Antioch and scored.

Newark's defense played a big part in keeping Antioch scoreless. With Antioch threatening with two on in the fifth, third baseman Laurisa Hernandez snagged a bullet that could have caused extensive damage. In the next inning, it was Erica Contreras' turn to play the role of hero. With runners on first and second and two down, Contreras made an excellent over-the-shoulder grab to save the Newark lead.

Winning 1-0 may be the narrowest margin of victory but it did secure Newark a spot in the semifinals. On June 1, the Lady Cougars will travel to the 925 and play the second-seeded Amador Valley Lady Dons. Amador Valley will come into that Wednesday showdown posting a 17-5 record and having beat California High in a 1-0 game of their own. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.

In other MVAL action, both American and Washington were done in in the Division II bracket on Wednesday, May 25. No. 12 seed American fell a few runs shorts of an upset in their 3-1 loss to fifth seeded Carondelet High. The Lady Eagles complete the year holding a 13-8 record. As for the Lady Huskies of Washington, their fate was handed to them by top-seeded Pinole Valley, 9-6. The scrappy Washington team finishes the 2011 season third in the MVAL at 6-6 and 12-10 overall.

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