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East, West All-Stars play to tie in San Fernando Valley Softball Classic

Softball: East and West All-Star teams battle to 3-3 draw at Birmingham High.

June 13, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

VAN NUYS — Seconds after watching his team escape a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth inning, Doug Nicol vacated the dugout and prepared to occupy the third-base box for the 10th inning and possibly longer.

Nicol, who served as the head coach of the East All-Star Team in the seventh annual San Fernando Valley All-Star Softball Classic on Wednesday afternoon, took several strides onto the field before being met by the three-member umpiring crew, which told him the game was over. Nicol was taken aback and briefly confused.

"I thought we were going to still be playing, but the umpires said we were only going to play nine innings," said Nicol, who is the Burroughs High coach, after his East team battled to a 3-3 tie with the West All-Star team at Birmingham High. "In the end, both teams competed hard and it's the right thing to do.

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"It was a great experience to coach in a game like this with so many excellent players."

The game, designed for seniors from the San Fernando, Conejo, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, featured several area players. They included Allison Lacey of Crescenta Valley, Haley Schulman, Shannon Trujillo and Caitlin Loera of Burroughs and Nalani Hernandez of Burbank.

All five competed with Schulman, a pitcher, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the fifth.

The East scored two runs in the first against West starting pitcher Nancy Bowling of Royal. The East made it 1-0 on a sacrifice fly by West Ranch's Janelle Lindvall that scored Jennie McNeill of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. Hart's Tracy Chandless, who earlier won the home run derby, hit a solo home run off the left-field foul pole to extend the East's advantage to 2-0.

Schulman, who earned a spot on the All-CIF Southern Section Division III first team, began the fifth by giving up a single to Moorpark's Cheyenne Sandoval. The right-hander then struck out Karyn Wright of El Camino Real and Chaminade's Taylor Stewart before walking Whitney West of El Camino Real to put runners on first and second. Simi Valley's Alli Cook then had a bunt single to load the bases before Schulman got Nicole Cheek of Simi Valley on a popout to shortstop to end the threat.

"I was going up against a lot of players I didn't really know," said Schulman, who also played right field in the eighth after pitching a scoreless sixth. "I had to pitch like I knew how to and throw whatever the catcher wanted and hope to hit the spot."

Nicol said that juncture proved to be pivotal.

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