Southern Section 3-A Softball Championship : Garden Grove Edges Sonora, 1-0 : Nanette Nava, Leslie Osterman Lead Argonauts to Title
Garden Grove High School’s Nanette Nava is the kind of softball player who plays close to, and sometimes on, the ground. It doesn’t appear her shirt-tail has ever been tucked in.
Though she’s only a sophomore, Garden Grove Coach Paula Cervantes says, “She’s the one player that I can count on 99 times out of 100 to perform under pressure.”
It was Nava who scored the only Argonaut run Friday against Sonora, but that was enough as Garden Grove won the Southern Section 3-A championship, 1-0, over the Raiders at Mayfair Park in Lakewood.
It happened in the bottom of the third inning. Nava lined a single to center with one out, and took second on a passed ball.
While left fielder Lynn Titzkowski was at bat, Nava kept taking a big lead from second base, eventually drifting off enough to draw a throw from Sonora catcher Jennifer Simpkins. On Simpkins throw to second, Nava broke for third reaching safely with a head first dive.
“That’s something that I just do naturally,” Nava said. “I knew if I could get her to throw to second I could make it to third.”
However, it looked as if all of Nava’s guile would go for naught when Titzkowski struck out on the next pitch.
“I wasn’t nervous the whole game, just when I was on third,” Nava said. “I really didn’t think I’d get a chance to score.”
The chance came on a two and two count on shortstop Marian Mendoza.
Sonora starting pitcher Kristen Robinson (12-4) threw a breaking ball that broke about five feet too soon. The ball got away from Raider catcher Jennifer Simpkins and Nava scored easily from third on the passed ball. Mendoza, who had swung and missed on the pitch took first.
“Nanette is just Nanette,” Cervantes said. “She’s a unique player. She isn’t fazed by pressure at all.”
In fact, it was Nava who had the game winning hit, a two-out single, against Woodbridge in Garden Grove’s semifinal game. The Argonauts won that game also by a score of 1-0.
It was interesting that Robinson threw the breaking pitch wild. It had been her best pitch all night. The sophomore recorded seven strikeouts, and the breaking pitch often was the third strike.
“It was tough way to lose a ball game,” Sonora Coach Sam Robinson said. “Jennifer just feels awful about letting the ball get away. And the thing is she’s been like cement back there for us all year. She’s been our captain and come up with great play after great play this season.”
The loss might have been especially bitter for Simpkins because she had come so far to be in the game. As a freshman she played on a Raider team that won just one game. As a sophomore Sonora improved on record--it won two games.
“It’s tough when you come as far as we have to lose like this,” Robinson said. “But we got beat by a good team. We didn’t lose the game for them, they won it outright.”
Garden Grove’s Leslie Osterman pitched her usual game. With the Sonora shut out, Osterman (25-7) ends the playoffs without allowing a run. She struck out seven Friday night.
Osterman pitched as if she were in a hurry. In the first inning she was throwing the ball just as fast as catcher April Spurlock could get it back to her.
Sonora slowed things down a bit when right fielder Lisa Johnson hit a one-out single to center. Second base man Deanna Sandello sacrificed Johnson to second, but Osterman struck out left fielder Carol Skare to end the Raider threat.
“Leslie has the greatest memory I have ever seen,” Cervantes said. “She can remember what she got a girl on a she’ll throw it again. She was so pumped up today. She wasn’t even seeing if the batters were ready, she was just getting the ball and throwing it.”