Buena Park's Wyman Saves Best for Last

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Denise Wyman doesn't mind being near the bottom of the Buena Park High School softball team's lineup. She says batting eighth helps her get a feel for the opposing pitcher.

Wednesday, Wyman watched as Crescenta Valley pitcher Becki Mixon frustrated Buena Park batters for six innings of a Southern Section 4-A second-round playoff game. Wyman's single in the third inning was Buena Park's first hit.

In the bottom of the seventh, Wyman got the Coyotes' last hit, a bases-loaded single that gave Buena Park a 1-0 victory.

Buena Park (18-3-1) advances to the quarterfinals Friday against Charter Oak (19-4), a 5-4 winner Wednesday over Buena.

"(Wyman) has been inconsistent--that's why she's down there," Buena Park Coach Brenda Sapp said. "But I know she can hit. Her batting average isn't as high as it should be, but she's gotten some key hits for us."

But none as important as Wyman's hit in the seventh Wednesday. Mixon, who finished the season 24-3, walked Kari Escobedo to open the inning. Robin Thorn followed with a ground ball to second baseman Alysia Kline, whose throw to second was too late to get Escobedo.

Tara Glenn bunted the runners to second and third, and Christina Urban was intentionally walked. Wyman followed with her game-winning hit, a line drive to right-center field.

Buena Park pitcher Shannon Akau struck out five of the first eight Crescenta Valley batters before giving up her first hit of the game in the third inning, when Kline bunted safely with two outs. Akau, who struck out nine and didn't walk a batter, allowed only four singles--all with two out--in raising her record to 17-3. No Crescenta Valley runner made it to second base.

"I wouldn't want to be on a team that had to hit against Shannon," Wyman said. "We hit against her in practice but in a game it's something else."

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