Dow Stops Kennedy on Two Hits
Canoga Park High pitcher De Dow resisted nervousness for six innings during Thursday’s City 4-A quarterfinal softball game against Kennedy. But Dow fell victim to nerves as the seventh inning assumed a hauntingly familiar tone.
Last season in the quarterfinals, Kennedy struck in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Canoga Park, 1-0.
But Thursday, Canoga Park got even by defeating Kennedy, 2-1, at Granada Hills Recreation Park to end Kennedy’s season at 16-6. The Hunters (14-3) meet Banning, a 9-1 winner Thursday over Verdugo Hills, in the semifinals at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday at South Gate Park.
“We were up for the game and ready,” said Dow, who struck out nine and allowed only two hits. “We lost to Kennedy two years in a row. We weren’t going to lose today.”
Dow (14-3) doesn’t lose often. Neither does Kennedy’s Pauline Madrid (16-4). Madrid pitched one of her strongest games of the season, striking out 11 and allowing two hits.
“This is the hardest I’ve thrown all year,” Madrid said. “I’ve been used to just throwing for strikes. This one, I was using more of my pitches.”
With both pitchers on their games, defense--or the lack of--decided the outcome.
Kennedy’s two errors in the fourth inning knocked the Golden Cougars from the playoffs.
With one out, Canoga Park’s Tammi Lester bunted and would have been out at first base, but Kennedy second baseman Kris Brown dropped the ball at first. One out later, Stephanie Wukmir doubled to left field scoring Lester. Lydia Herrera followed with a slow infield grounder to third baseman Carole Kim, who bobbled the ball, allowing the winning run to score.
“I knew it was going to be the first team to make an error,” Madrid said. “Unfortunately, it was us.”
Madrid entered the game with a .433 average and had the only two hits off of Dow. She had a simple explanation for her success against Dow.
“I’ve caught for her many times at my dad’s clinic,” said Madrid, whose father, Armando, coaches both pitchers. “That’s why I got a couple of hits off De. I know what she’s throwing by the way she leans.”
Madrid singled to lead off the home half of the seventh inning and Sandra Harwood walked. Dow, however, struck out Julie Burley, caught Brown’s pop-up, and threw Avery Kutcher out at first to end the final inning.