Source: Valley Roadrunner

Big plays in close games lead Lady Jaguars to three softball wins

by Dan Kidder Roadrunner Correspondent

March 27, 2014

Valley Center’s varsity softball team opened the season with a bit of a rough stretch, as the Lady Jaguars won only two of the first five games, including a pair of games with uncharacteristically lopsided scores.

But in the last three games, the Lady Jags have come up with clutch plays at the right time and have picked up three wins in three unique ways.

The first of the three wins came last Wednesday at home against La Costa Canyon, as Valley Center built an early lead and held on for a 5–4 victory.

The Lady Jaguars scored three runs in the bottom of the first on a three-run home run by freshman Moyla Devers, then added two more in the third, as Brie Dunckel scored on a wild pitch and Devers scored on an RBI single by Jasmine Contreras, giving Valley Center a 5–0 lead through three innings.

La Costa Canyon got right back into the game with a two-run home run in the fourth, but the threat ended when Dunckel made a diving catch at second base for the third out of the inning.

The Lady Mustangs got two runners on base in the fifth and sixth, but once again the Valley Center defense shut down the rally with timely putouts. La Costa Canyon scored two in the top of the seventh after a walk, a base hit and an error loaded the bases and led to a two-run single. But relief pitcher Nia Hutton went right after the next batter and induced a grounder to second to end the threat and the game.

Devers led the offense with a home run and a single, with three RBIs, while Contreras had two hits and an RBI, Dunckel had two hits and both Sukie Turner and Kiana Diefenbach had one hit each.

Emma Sloman got the win, as she pitched four innings and allowed two runs on four hits, with two strikeouts. Nia Hutton pitched the final three innings and gave up two runs on four hits with one walk.

Next came another home game against Vista on Friday, and once again the Lady Jaguars survived a close game to take a 2–0 win.

Valley Center scored its first batter of the game, as Dunckel ripped a base hit and scored on a single by Contreras. The Lady Jags scored their second run on their final at-bat of the game, as Turner ripped a single up the middle with two on to bring in a run before the second runner was thrown out at home.

Hutton was outstanding in the pitcher’s circle, as she delivered a complete game, four-hit, shutout performance that included one walk and three strikeouts.

At the plate, Diefenbach led the offense with two hits, while Turner and Contreras each had a hit and an RBI and Hutton, Devers, Sloman and Dunckel each had a hit.

And in the last of the three wins, the Lady Jags played at Mission Bay and exploded for a 13–2 victory.

Diefenbach had three hits, including a double, and four RBIs to lead the way, while Hutton had a home run and a single, with four RBIs, Dunckel had three hits and both Maddie Boyer and Leilani Diefenbach had a hit.

Sloman earned another win for pitching four innings and allowing two runs (zero earned) on four hits, with one walk and three strikeouts. Hutton finished off the final two innings of the game and didn’t allow a hit or a run while striking out three.

Valley Center plays again Thursday at home against Montgomery at 3:30 p.m. before playing at El Camino next Tuesday at 4 p.m.