El Camino Real Unearths City 4-A Softball Title, 8-3

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Forgive Alisha Knopf if she likes to get dirty. That's her style of play.

Showing great grit and determination, Knopf led El Camino Real High to an 8-3 victory over Chatsworth in the City Section 4-A Division softball championship game Thursday at Cal State Northridge.

It was the Conquistadores' third consecutive 4-A title and seventh in the past eight years.

"I was an animal today. I was going all out," said Knopf, El Camino Real's second baseman. "This was my last game and I wanted it."

Twice in the third inning, Knopf stopped ground balls that had eluded first baseman Jenny Fleming and retired the batter.

On one of the plays, Knopf made a lunging stab and threw to Fleming for the out while sitting in the dirt.

"I wanted every ball hit to me," said Knopf, a senior who covered first base as well as she covered second.

She made a solo putout on a ground ball and teamed with Fleming for a pair of 3-4 outs at first.

"She plays in the dirt. She's that kind of player," El Camino Real Coach Neils Ludlow said of Knopf. "She covers a lot of ground out there."

Knopf, who had two assists in the seventh, was as timely with her hitting as she was sure-handed with her fielding. She led El Camino Real with two hits--including a run-scoring double in the first--had two runs batted in and scored once.

Fleming also had a productive day with at bat. The Cal State Northridge-bound senior went three for four (all singles), had an RBI and scored a run for the Conquistadores (23-3).

Designated-hitter Heidi Crocker pushed across two runs but had only one hit in four at-bats.

El Camino Real scored in every inning but the fourth. The Conquistadores scored two runs in the first inning with the aid of doubles by Cathy Balint and Knopf.

The Conquistadores steamed to a 7-0 advantage after five innings but Chatsworth (13-6) tagged Chrissy Peck (23-3) for four singles and three runs to trim El Camino Real's lead to 7-3 in the sixth.

"She got a little wild at that time," Chatsworth Coach Gary Shair said of Peck, who threw two wild pitches that allowed two Chancellor runs in the inning.

Peck stole home in the sixth to round out El Camino Real's scoring.

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