Pacifica Drives Opponent Batty, Then Wins in 9th

It took the Pacifica High School softball team nine innings and a protest over the opponent's bat to defeat Hacienda Heights Wilson, 4-3, Wednesday in the second round of the Southern Section 4-A playoffs.

In the fourth inning, with Wilson ahead, 3-2, Pacifica Coach Rob Weil asked the umpires to check the bat of Debbie Thurman. They ruled that the bat be discarded for containing materials other than the allowed wood, aluminum or magnesium. The protest flustered Thurman, and she struck out, halting a Wilson rally.

"Well, it was a graphite bat," Weil said. "I was just bringing it to (the umpire's) attention, because it's part of the game. Plus, we needed to cut the momentum down a little bit."

Pacifica (15-8) took a 2-0 lead in the third. Cindy Stoecklein reached base on a pitching error and Leslie Mascarenas walked. Michelle Jensen, Dena Villasenor and Susan Denny each singled, driving home Stoecklein and Mascarenas.

But Wilson answered with three runs in the fourth. Terri Henning hit a line-drive double to left field and Kerry Malone homered to right. Dede Vasquez then doubled to right and Lisa Valdez bunted to reach base. Valdez went to second on the throw to third and scored on Ashley Henderson's single to right.

Pacifica tied it in the sixth. Jennifer Slaughter hit a single down the left-field line. Pitcher Jennifer Surface, who struck out 13, flied out to center, but Malone stopped the throw to home, which allowed Slaughter to score.

In the ninth, Jensen hit a ground ball to Thurman, who bobbled it. Villasenor sacrificed Jensen to second. Two outs later, Surface grounded a single that scored the eventual winning run. Thurman argued the ball hit Jensen in the heel, but to no avail.

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