By Pat Turner
The Warriors (14-4, 11-1) made the situation possible this past Saturday by carving out a 3-0 win over Holmes (16-3, 10-2), which shared first place going into the contest.
Warren, which lost a 2-1 decision to Holmes in the first round, got the edge this time by matching Annika Litterio’s one-hit, 11-strikeout outing with clutch hits that were missing in the last meeting with the Huskies.
Senior Lauryn Hernandez came up big with her bat, delivering a double and triple that set up two runs.
“This is exciting for us,” Hernandez said. “We played with a lot of confidence. Everyone did their job.”
An inning later, Hernandez roped a double to left and scored with two outs on a dropped pop.
In the fifth, Hernandez added something extra by leading with a triple and scoring on Tori Jimenez’s sacrifice fly.
“We were trying to put pressure on them with the hits,” Hernandez said. “I wanted to help us succeed and get the W.”
That 3-0 cushion proved to be more than enough for Litterio, who was on top of her game.
The Warren pitcher struck out the first five batters and retired eight in a row before Jimmie Lee Garcia broke the streak with a single to left.
Litterio ended that threat with a strikeout and did not allow a baserunner until hitting Erykah Guerrero with one out in the seventh.
The Warriors’ hurler ended all hopes of a comeback by getting two quick outs.
“We had a lot going on in our heads,” Litterio said. “We were focused the whole week. That focus set the tone for us. I was making sure I was doing my job. I had to focus on my pitching, because I knew the offense was going to get the hits. I knew my defense was going to help me.”
Warren tuned up for its bout against Holmes by pulling out a 4-1 win over O’Connor.
O’Connor (8-6, 7-5) touched Litterio for six hits, but the Panthers were unable to produce runs until the seventh inning.
By that time, Warren owned a 4-0 lead.
Litterio’s RBI single put Warren at 1-0 advantage in the second, before striking for three more in the seventh.
Harpel and Austin Germain triggered the rally with run-scoring singles.
Although the Warriors are sitting in first place, they’re not taking their current position for granted.
“We have to win out and stay confident in each other,” Hernandez said. “We have to know we’re going to do great and be there for each other. Being in first means a lot to all four seniors. We’ve worked hard for this the whole time. We want to stay in first.”
After pounding out a 12-2 win over Jay behind sharp hitting from Gabriella Torres (1 for 3), Alexandra Torres (3 for 4) and Hailey Neira (3 for 3), the Bears’ clutch hitting disappeared.
Taft silenced the Bears in a 3-2 victory as Thelia Mata scattered five hits and relied on timely offensive backing.
Brennan squeezed out a 2-1 lead on Gabby Torres’ single and a fielding error. However, the Raiders pulled out the victory with two runs in the sixth.
Chelsea Beach’s double, along with a walk and error loaded the bases before Kara Hawley unloaded a two-run single.
Still, the Raiders had to come up with snappy defense in the seventh to secure the victory.
Aallison Bocook began Brennan’s final at-bat by dropping a single into right and moving to second and third on a passed ball and Jiselle Rivas’ sacrifice bunt.
However, Taft (9-9, 4-8) prevented the tying run from crossing the plate when third baseman Haley Ramos fielded a bunt and erased the Brennan baserunner at the plate.
O’Connor (8-6, 7-5) and Brandeis (11-8, 7-5) are battling for the fourth playoff spot.
Following the loss to Warren, O’Connor registered an 8-2 win over Jay.
The Panthers were locked in a 2-2 tie, but broke away by taking advantage of errors, a two-run single from Toni Espinoza, Leighann Goode’s RBI double and Jordan Alejandro’s run-scoring triple.
Brandeis had its bats sizzling in a 9-1 thumping of Marshall and 9-0 blanking of Clark.
Maria Delgado, Carmen Vela, Andrea Vasquez, Taylor Phillips and Kate Calloway provided much of the highlights.
For more images from the game click here