Sophomore right-hander De Dow displayed the mastery Wednesday that has made her Western State Conference Pitcher of the Year the past two seasons.
Dow threw a five-hitter to propel Moorpark College to a 5-1 victory over Mt. San Antonio in the first round of the Southern California junior college regional softball playoffs at Moorpark.
In addition to the damage inflicted by Dow, Mt. San Antonio hurt itself with costly fielding miscues.
Moorpark took advantage of six Mountie errors and collected eight hits.
The Raiders will play host to El Camino, an 8-1 winner over Canyons on Wednesday, in a best-of-three series beginning Saturday for the right to advance to the state finals May 19-21 at Golden West College.
If Moorpark loses Saturday, it will have to sweep a doubleheader Sunday to avoid elimination--a predicament Coach Will Thurston wants to avoid.
"It's really important that we get that first game Saturday," Thurston said.
The Lady Raiders (33-10), seeded third in the 16-team playoffs, had little trouble dispatching Mt. San Antonio (18-19). The Mounties, seeded 14th, committed five of their six errors in the first three innings and collected only four singles and a double off Dow (25-7).
"We did not have the defense that we should have had," Mt. San Antonio Coach Denise Yeomans said. "We were a little inexperienced and I think nervous."
Mt. San Antonio, which had one sophomore in its lineup, picked up its only run on Shellie Martin's single to left field in the third that scored Nora San Juan.
Moorpark snapped a 1-1 tie with two runs in the third on two hits and three Mt. San Antonio errors. Audra Olive singled, advanced to second on Rustie Stevens' walk and scored the go-ahead run.
Olive stole third and scored when catcher Andy Macias threw wildly into left field in a failed attempt to get Olive at third.
"We hit the ball hard and it was difficult for their players in the infield to handle," Thurston said.
Stevens singled and scored in the fifth to give Moorpark a 4-1 lead. Stevens hit an infield single, advanced to second on Missy Cress' ground out and went to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Chris Singer's bunt.
Stevens knocked in Moorpark's last run in the sixth on a single to left that scored pinch-runner Paula Allen from third. Dow singled up the middle with one out to start the rally and Allen, running for Dow, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on Olive's ground out.
In Canyons' loss, Michelle Ruffner, hampered by a muscle pull in her throwing arm, allowed 10 hits against host El Camino.
Debbie Rendall had two of the Cougars' four hits and drove in the lone run in the fourth.
Canyons, which committed six errors, finished 25-16.
Candy Carrico struck out 10 for El Camino, the South Coast Conference champion.