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Prep win serves notice

Softball: Victory over defending league champion puts Rebels all alone in first.

April 13, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Heading into the current Prep League softball season, reigning league titlist Mayfield was the prohibitive favorite to reign once more.

Though there's still plenty of league games on the docket, after Tuesday, Flintridge Prep has clearly established itself out of the gates as the team to beat in the Prep League.

On the strength of an outstanding performance in the circle from Denise van der Goot and a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning by Kelly Wang, the Rebels edged the Cubs, 2-1, at Flintridge Prep.

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"We were able to kinda just out-battle them," said Rebels Coach Julie Jaime of beating Mayfield to improve to 6-2 overall and 3-0 in league as the only undefeated league squad. "It's huge. Just to have, if nothing less, that cushion [in the standings is key]."

Despite a rash of base-running miscues, the Rebels loaded the bases with one out when Wang came to the plate.

"I tried to wipe away all the stress and the pressure," said Wang, who had gone 0 for two with a walk in her previous three plate appearances. "Luckily, there weren't two outs — that made it a lot less stressful."

On a 1-1 count, Wang belted a line drive to left field that scored pinch-hitter Maya Okamoto, who scored just ahead of the tag for the win.

Mayfield, which won the last two league crowns, slipped to 4-7 and 1-2 in league despite the efforts of senior pitcher Katherine Clancy, who engaged van der Goot in a spirited battle in the circle.

Van der Goot finished with 13 strikeouts to no walks, while allowing just two hits.

"It was a great pitchers' duel," Jaime said. "Both pitchers did a great job.

"[van der Goot] stayed solid throughout."

Through the first three innings, van der Goot was perfect, using just eight pitches to retire the side in the first. At one point during that span, she retired seven straight via strikeout.

With one out in the fourth, Mayfield's Lauren Armenta put down a bunt for a single. Armenta then stole second and took third on a passed ball. Mireya Hernandez then lifted a one-out single to center field that scored Armenta for a 1-0 lead.

Armenta's bunt single and subsequent hindrance on the bases proved to be a bit of a distraction for van der Goot.

"I think it was a tiny bit," van der Goot said. "Afterwards, I just shook it off."

Indeed she did, as van der Goot retired the last 11 batters she faced in order.

"I just try and let it go and focus," van der Goot said.

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