Prep (11-4, 7-1 in league), which had its six-game win streak snapped, was only able to muster four hits in the contest, as Daugherty did a masterful job of keeping a talented Rebels lineup in check.
“Their pitcher had a great outing,” said Rebels Coach Julie Jaime, whose club topped Westridge, 7-2, on April 12. “She did a great job of catching that outside corner and mixing it in with the rise ball and just kept us off balance. We were able to get hits, we just weren’t able to connect them like we were able to in the past.”
As the game began to unfold, it was clear runs were going to be at a premium.
Rebels starter Lydia Kay, who scattered four hits in her six innings of work, matched Daugherty every step of the way until her control began to elude her in the bottom of the fourth.
The Tigers (5-10, 3-5) loaded the bases with a single and two walks before Julia Skrovan and Katie Schwartz belted back-to-back run-scoring singles for a 2-0 Westridge lead.
Things might have been worse for Prep, but a nice defensive play from center fielder Alina Okamoto to gun down a Tigers runner at third base helped Kay (11-3) escape the jam.
“In a game like this, that’s all it takes,” said Jaime of Westridge’s ability to push across two runs.
Prep wasted no time in retaliating, however. A Kay walk and Kaitlin French and Annie Zaro reaching on consecutive errors loaded the bases for the Rebels with no outs in the top of the fifth.
But Daugherty induced Okamoto to hit a ground ball to third and the Tigers were able to get the force at home, bringing Alina Khodadian to the plate.
Khodadian ripped a deep sacrifice fly to left, plating French and slashing the Tigers’ lead in half, 2-1. On the play, Zaro tried to tag up from second and advance to third, but a great throw by Skrovan was in time to get Zaro and silence the Rebels’ threat.
“It was an ideal situation,” Jaime said. “You want to try and get at least two in any time you have that. We had a close play to end it.”
Prep had one final opportunity in the seventh to tie or take the lead when French and Zaro laced consecutive two-out singles, but Daugherty, who held Prep’s No. 1-6 batters hitless, was able to retire Okamoto to finish the contest.
The loss for the Rebels creates a tie atop the Prep League standings with Pasadena Poly also boasting a 7-1 league mark. The two clubs will square off at 3:45 p.m. on Monday at Flintridge Prep.
“We can’t go outside our zone,” Jaime said. “We just need to play our game. If we stay within ourselves, we’ll do well. ... Our offense has been huge for us, if we can put the bat on the ball we’ll make things happen.”