Before the season, criticisms of Mater Dei's softball team focused on the team's youth and lack of pitching experience. The team started this season with four freshmen in the lineup, and without its top pitcher, Patty Godwin, who graduated.
The critics might want to think again. Colleen Boddy pitched a three-hitter and the Monarchs (7-1) pounded out 11 hits, including two home runs by Shealee Dunavan, in defeating Huntington Beach, 11-1, in a quarterfinal of the Fountain Valley tournament Saturday afternoon. Mater Dei will play Marina in a semifinal next Saturday.
Dunavan broke up a scoreless game in the third inning with a leadoff shot to right-center field that got between two outfielders and went for a homer. Lisa Tully followed with a one-out single, and one out later the Monarchs pounded out five consecutive hits, the last one a three-run triple by Boddy, to take a 6-0 lead.
Mater Dei added five runs in the fifth, on a two-run single by Boddy and a three-run homer by Dunavan. The game was called after five innings because of a tournament mercy rule.
"We play kind of a motion offense--we like to keep the runners moving, and if we hit the ball on the ground, it tends to be successful," Coach Doug Myers said. "Also, I think our defense has played great; I can't think of anyone but Foothill that is probably better. We are young, but 15 of our 16 players went to (ASA Junior Olympic) nationals last year. It's just a matter of getting used to this level."
The four Mater Dei freshmen contributed to an 11-hit attack. Boddy gave up only a Jennifer Krill single through the first four innings before giving up a pair of hits and an unearned run in the final inning.
Huntington Beach (6-5) advanced with a 5-4 opening-round upset of defending Southern Section Division II champion Fullerton. After three scoreless innings under the international tiebreaker rule, the Indians took a 4-3 lead in the top of the ninth. Huntington Beach tied the score on Jenny Hart's RBI single. Kristin Vardiman drew a bases-loaded walk for the winning run. Mater Dei also had to rally in the opening round, falling behind 2-0 before beating Calvary Chapel, 4-2.
In other tournament games:
Marina 3, El Dorado 0--Heather Williams hit a two-run triple in the third inning and Marcy Crouch tossed a one-hitter in the second round. El Dorado is 5-3.
Pacifica 1, Laguna Hills 0--Amanda Freed singled in Andrea Pickett in the second inning to score the game's only run for Pacifica (7-1). Freed also pitched a shutout in the second-round game.