SOFTBALL: MENDOZA STEALS THE SHOW.
Jessica Mendoza was rounding third base so hard she probably wouldn't have been able to stop running had she wanted to. And it wasn't a difficult decision to try and take home.
Not after the Simi Valley first baseman dropped the potential third out of a scoreless game that seemed headed for extra innings.
The fact that Mendoza deciphered all of this in a split second with a mere glance - then took advantage by charging home to score with a nifty slide around Pioneers' catcher Jennie Shields - well, that's why Camarillo coach Miki Mangan was thankful that she had Mendoza.
It's the reason top-ranked Camarillo escaped with a 1-0 win over No. 2 Simi Valley on Thursday to take over first place in the Marmonte League, a half-game ahead of idle Thousand Oaks.
Camarillo is 8-0, 5-0 in league play. Simi Valley is 8-2, 3-2.
``I wouldn't have wanted anybody else but (Mendoza) on third base right there,'' Mangan said.
Mendoza's heads-up base running and a brilliant pitching performance by Kathrin Nevard were the difference. Mendoza scored the game-winning run in the top of the sixth inning on what appeared to be a certain inning-ending double play.
With the bases loaded and Mendoza at second, Allie Taverner grounded to third baseman Sue Clarkson, who threw home for the force out. But Dawn Carifi dropped the ball on Shields' throw to first, keeping the inning and play alive. Mendoza saw what happened as she rounded third, then dashed home.
``All I was thinking about was getting home,'' said the Stanford University-bound Mendoza, who sat out much of last year with a knee injury. ``I saw her drop the ball out of the corner of my eye, so I took off.''
It figured the game would come down to one play. Neither Nevard nor Simi Valley pitcher Brittney Green were in giving moods. Nevard allowed only one hit and struck out seven. Green surrendered only three hits, two to Jill Borchard, in her first complete game since suffering a shoulder injury two weeks ago.
``You've got to score runs to win, and we didn't,'' said Simi Valley coach Suzanne Manlet.
The Pioneers' best scoring opportunity was in the second inning, when Green reached third with one out. But Nevard got Tiffany Franklin to fly out to right and Rebekah Todd to pop up to second to end the threat.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Apr 10, 1998|
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