Hitless in her first five plate appearances Wednesday, Theresa Conway punctuated each at-bat by slamming her helmet in frustration against the Mater Dei High School bench.
Helmet on wood, however, was not the resounding thud that silenced Simi Valley in the 10th inning of a Southern Section 5-A quarterfinal softball game. It was the sound of a Conway single that drove in the winning run and gave Mater Dei a 3-2 victory at Rancho Simi Park.
"I hadn't really made my contribution," said Conway, a senior who extended her consecutive-game hitting streak to seven. "I had to go out with a bang, if anything."
Mater Dei (22-3) will play the winner of today's Marina-Lompoc game.
Conway's two-out hit, which drove in Tina Fuata, overshadowed a seventh-inning comeback by Simi Valley (20-9).
With two on and two outs in the seventh, Simi Valley's Gina Skinner drove a double down the third-base line to tie it, 2-2.
Consecutive singles to lead off the eighth put Simi Valley runners at first and second. But Monarch pitcher Jennifer Clark retired the next three batters in order. The Pioneers had another chance in the ninth inning, but Naples, who had reached first on an overthrow, tried to stretch to second and was picked off.
In the fifth, Mater Dei's Amy Moeller hit a triple and Amy Godwin followed with a hard grounder to short that was bobbled and Moeller scored on the error, increasing the Monarchs' lead to 2-0.
Clark (15-1), a freshman, got the victory for Mater Dei. Three times--including in the 10th--she retired Simi Valley batters in order.
"She's really composed," Mater Dei Coach Cathy Quesnell said. "But you can see worry across her forehead. She's grown up at least four years on the mound."