Mission Viejo High School took advantage of four first-inning errors to score four runs Tuesday en route to a 6-2 victory over Ramona in a Southern Section 3-A softball semifinal at Alicia Park in Mission Viejo.
Michele Daugherty tripled home one run and scored another in the inning.
Ramona (22-8), which finished the game with six errors, cut the Diablo lead to 4-2, thanks to an error by second baseman Keri McDaniel and a run-scoring single by Sarah Parry. But Mission Viejo came back with two more runs in the fourth.
The Diablos (18-8) scored once on four consecutive hits--capped by Jennifer Ward’s run-scoring single--and got their second run of the inning when, with the bases still loaded, Ramona first baseman Jennifer Sandoval threw wildly to the plate after fielding Renee Pina’s squeeze bunt.
Mission Viejo’s Erin Fitzgerald (12-4) gave up eight hits, six coming in the first three innings, but she was helped by a number of timely defensive plays.
“We got to them right away,” said Mission Viejo Coach Jeff Cunningham, whose team will play Covina, a 7-2 winner over Saugus, in Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. 3-A championship game at Mayfair Park in Lakewood.
“We played a little bit tentatively after we scored the four runs, and Erin got a little unsettled in the early going. But she settled down after the first few innings and pitched a good ballgame,”
Said Ramona Coach Angela Melander: “The first inning really killed us. You can’t make as many errors as we did in an inning and expect to beat a good team like Mission Viejo. The errors we made were not typical of the way we have been playing all season and it’s a shame for us to end the season on this kind of note.”
While Ramona pitcher Angel Jaramillo (14-6) was being victimized by her team’s erratic play, Fitzgerald was getting help from her defense.
In the fourth inning, Ramona’s Lisa DeGarmo reached first on first baseman Renee Pina’s fielding error, but shortstop Ward made a diving stop of Shelli Chimelewski’s hard grounder and touched second base with her bare hand to force DeGarmo.
Then, with runners on first and second and two outs in the inning, Mission Viejo center fielder Amy Bond made a diving catch of Rachel Heyse’s sinking liner.