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Prep stays alone on top

Softball: First-place Rebels take down second-place Kares with five-run first.

May 04, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Faced with one of its most important and arduous Prep League tests and having to do so — at least at the start — with standout pitcher Denise van der Goot in a classroom literally taking an exam, Flintridge Prep's softball team entered its matchup with Rio Hondo Prep a bit apprehensive.

"We were definitely apprehensive," said Rebels senior third baseman Abbey Deckop. "Just not seeing her warming up made us nervous."

But after one very momentous first inning of offense, the Rebels were at ease and stayed as such, with five first-inning runs setting the tone for an impressive 9-2 win over the Kares on Tuesday evening at Flintridge Prep.

"It's a great win for us," said Rebels Coach Julie Jaime, whose Rebels improved to 11-3 overall and 8-1 in league, maintaining first place atop the standings, while putting Rio Hondo at 11-5, 5-3. "This is a big, big game."

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Prep took no time in getting started, as Kelly Wang drew a leadoff walk and scored four pitches later on an Alina Okamoto double to center field. It began a blitzkrieg of five runs — three of them unearned thanks to a Rio Hondo dropped popup — in a stanza that also saw four Rebels hits, a walk and two Prep stolen bases in addition to a wild pitch and a passed ball.

"[It was] obviously great breathing room for us," said Jaime, who got a combined 11 hits and three walks from eight players. "We put base hits together, with some timely hitting with runners in scoring position."

Following Okamoto's double, she scored on a wild pitch before Deckop scored Ashley Kim on a chopper up the middle, making it 3-0.

Okamoto finished with a pair of hits, two runs and a run batted in, Deckop had three hits, three RBI and a run and Kim also had a pair of hits to go with three runs.

"I think it was really nice just having everybody be confident out there," Okamoto said. "Everyone executed today."

Deckop later scored on a sacrifice fly by Rachel Simon an at-bat prior to Maya Okamoto plating Chelsea Johnson on a groundout for the final run of the first-inning barrage.

While the first-inning onslaught was key, so too was the start of Caitlin Gillman, who spun two shutout innings before allowing a two-run home run to Charley Parker in the third and was then relieved by a returning van der Goot in the fourth.

"She did her job," said Deckop of Gillman, who went three innings, allowed three hits and a walk and struck out four.

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