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El Camino Real’s Peck Masters San Pedro

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Like an artist, Chrissy Peck has taken pains to master her medium. Peck, the ace pitcher on the El Camino Real High softball team, has learned to brush back batters, canvass her domain on defense and paint the corners of the strike zone.

And, as Peck displayed Wednesday against San Pedro, she also has learned to whitewash.

Behind Peck’s one-hit, 11-strikeout performance, El Camino Real defeated San Pedro, 7-0, to advance to the semifinals of the City Section Division 4-A playoffs. The Conquistadores will play Cleveland next Wednesday at South Gate Park. Cleveland beat Granada Hills, 14-4, Wednesday.

Peck, the City 4-A Player of the Year last season who recently committed to play for Barry College in Miami, Fla., threw just 76 pitches. She retired the first nine batters and did not throw a ball through the first 2 2/3 innings.

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“When she’s in a groove like she was today, she’s just impossible,” said Conquistadore Coach Neils Ludlow, whose top-seeded team improved to 21-3, also Peck’s record.

Peck, evidently a perfectionist, was not elated by her effort this season.

“During the season, I did enough to get by,” said Peck, who hurled three no-hitters. “I was satisfied but I knew I could do better.

“After the third or fourth inning, I usually slow down and lose my concentration.”

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Peck has been running wind sprints and taking extra pitching practice in preparation for the postseason.

“She’s committed,” Ludlow noted.

The defending 4-A champion, El Camino Real defeated San Pedro, 1-0, in last year’s title game with Peck pitching. The Pirates (14-8) lost five All-City players to graduation and have struggled.

“We were expecting a lot more,” Peck said. “We weren’t sure what they had. No one had seen them.”

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Even with his standouts from last season, San Pedro Coach Tony Dobra conceded, Peck would have been tough to crack.

“We hadn’t seen anything like this in a month and a half,” Dobra said. “She combines physical skills with mental skills and that’s hard to beat.”

El Camino Real, which amassed eight hits, scored two runs in the first inning.

Cathy Balint came home on an overthrow and Jenny Flemming singled in Alisha Knopf. Flemming also drove in Ann Antis with a sacrifice fly in a two-run second.

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Peck led off the fifth with a walk, advanced on an error and scored on a single by designated-hitter Heidi Crocker.

Later in the fifth, Carrie Reulbach scored on Erin McGuire’s infield single and Laurie Bischoff, who walked, came home on a fielder’s choice.

San Pedro’s lone single--a chopper by Michelle Harper over first baseman Flemming--came with two out in the third.


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