Flintridge Prep softball cruises to victory in league opener

It’s possible a handful of softball teams in the Prep League will be bunched together in the standings.

Flintridge Prep Coach Julie Mejia would like to see the Rebels mixed in with the group.

“I think our league will be very competitive again,” said Mejia, whose team began league action Tuesday with an 8-2 victory at Westridge. “A lot of teams have their key players back, so it should be interesting.

“I really like our team because we have good hitting one through nine and we’ve gotten a lot better on defense.”

Flintridge Prep, which finished tied for second in league last season, made things easier for itself Tuesday. The Rebels, who have qualified for the CIF playoffs the last two seasons, scored three runs in the first and second innings to grab a 6-0 lead.

Flintridge Prep (3-1) didn’t make an error in turning back Westridge (1-3, 0-2 in league). By comparison, the Tigers made six miscues.

“It’s a great first league game for us,” said Mejia, who took over the program in 2006. “We didn’t make any errors against a team that can put the ball in play.

“We took advantage of some plays early on by putting the ball in play and we did everything we could to put pressure on their defense.”

Flintridge Prep saw Therese Oshiro score on an error by the first baseman to make it 1-0. Melissa Grande scored on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 2-0 before a ground out by Libby Penn made it 3-0 in the first.

Amari Dennis drove in Taylor Yoshida with a double to give Flintridge Prep a 4-0 cushion in the second inning. Dennis scored on an error to make it 5-0 and a ground out by Maia Cohen brought in Oshiro to extend the advantage to 6-0.

“It was huge to score all of the runs early,” said Dennis, who finished with two hits, scored two runs and had five putouts in left field. “It gave the team a real big boost.

“It’s the way we’ll try to play the rest of the way in league. It will give us a chance and I wouldn’t be surprised if we were a top-three team in league again.”

Carina Mankerian had a run-scoring single to bring in Libby Penn to give Flintridge Prep a 7-0 lead in the third. The Rebels extended their lead to 8-0 on a fielder’s choice by Cohen in the sixth.

Westridge scored twice in the sixth, getting a run-scoring single from Julia Valenzuela and a bases-loaded walk from Sofia Flores-Rojas.

Oshiro pitched a complete game, scattering eight hits and striking out six.

Flintridge Prep collected five hits.

Yoshida made two outstanding catches in center field. In the first inning, she made a catch in front of the fence before tumbling over it with a runner on second and two outs. She made a similar catch in the fifth for the first out.

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