Southern Section 4-A Softball Playoffs : Kennedy Turns Back Sunny Hills in 10 Innings

Times Staff Writer

The Kennedy High School softball team needed something to spark its offense in the 10th inning of a Southern Section 4-A quarterfinal game against Sunny Hills Friday. Left fielder Stacey Wahlsteen provided the wake-up call with a stellar defensive play in the top of the inning.

The Fighting Irish (21-4) went on to score the winning run on an error in the bottom of the 10th for a 1-0 victory at Kennedy. They will play Western in the semifinals Tuesday.

The decisive defensive play came with two outs and Sunny Hills pitcher Amy Huett at the plate. Huett sent Cheryl Longeway’s first pitch deep into foul territory down the left-field line. Wahlsteen chased it down and made a spectacular diving catch.


“It was an energy booster,” Kennedy Coach Sue Hall said. “We were getting bored or lulled into a routine. When she did that, it boosted us up.”

Said Sunny Hills Coach Sheri Lazzarini: “Amy really launched that ball. That (catch) definitely gave them a little bit of a boost.”

Stefanie Hill led off the 10th for Kennedy with a line drive that bounced off Huett for a single. Wahlsteen then sacrificed Hill to second.

One out later, Danielle McLeod hit the first pitch to left field. The ball bounced out of Gina Silvestri’s glove and Hill scored on the error.

“I knew with the extra innings it was going to come down to that,” Lazzarini said. “I didn’t think it would be a power hit. I knew it would be an error.’

It was the third error the Lancers had committed. Kennedy had a runner at second in the first five innings and a runner at first in the sixth, but was unable to get them home.


“I feel sorry for that girl (who made the error) but they had been making mistakes all game, so we had to score sometime,” Hall said.

Kennedy played flawless defense and got a solid performance from Longeway (19-3). The sophomore left-hander pitched a two-hitter with nine strikeouts and no walks.

“I think she is just mentally tough in tight situations,” Hall said. “She is a great fielding pitcher, too. I have never seen her throw anything but strikes to first base.”

Huett (11-4) gave up five hits, struck out eight and walked one. Though she struggled with her rise ball in the late innings, Huett was not fatigued, Lazzarini said.

“Her last pitch was a good pitch,” she said. “(McLeod) just came around and finally got on it. After a batter sees a pitcher three or four times, they are going to finally figure out how to hit it.”

Sunny Hills, which had an eight-game winning streak end, finished the season 20-7. Last year, Kennedy also knocked Sunny Hills out of the playoffs in a second-round game at Kennedy.


Sunny Hills had lead-off singles in the first and fifth innings, but neither runner got to second.

“I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get the sacrifice bunts down that we wanted,” Lazzarini said. “That happened twice and that hurt us. If we could have gotten the sacrifice down we would have gotten a runner on second with one out and that could have made the difference.”

In other 4-A quarterfinal games:

Buena 4, Brea-Olinda 0--Kim Maher (22-2) pitched a three-hitter, striking out five, for host Buena (26-2). The Bulldogs scored two runs in the third and two in the fourth. Only two of the runs were earned. Kelly Cook (17-6) pitched a four-hitter, striking out eight, for Brea (18-7).

Diamond Bar 3, Garden Grove 0--Diamond Bar (23-2) scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Pam Barr pitched a two-hitter and also homered for Diamond Bar. Stephanie Smith threw a five-hitter for Garden Grove (20-7).