Quartz Hill Climbs Mountain
As the years go by and athletes turn into former athletes, their on-field accomplishments have a tendency to grow in significance.
Jodie Cox will have no such need for creative embellishment.
Her actual feats are legendary enough.
On Friday night at Mayfair Park, she neutralized one of the Southern Section’s best offensive teams, hit a home run and gritted out some tense moments in the late innings to help the Rebels to a 5-2 victory over Cerritos for the Division II championship.
“This was a dream to get here,” the junior left-hander said. “And to get a home run is not even believable. It just doesn’t happen.”
It did. There were witnesses. Cerritos Coach Kim Denhart, for instance.
“Jodie Cox was dominating,” said Denhart, whose team was batting .329. “She was the hardest-throwing pitcher we have seen all year.”
The fourth-seeded Dons (25-6) defeated Mater Dei, No. 1 in the nation, Camarillo and defending Division II champion Woodbridge to reach the final.
“Jodie is an awesome pitcher,” said shortstop Amber Slaton, who hit a two-run single for Quartz Hill (24-3-2) in the first inning. “She deserves all the attention she gets. There are no words to describe Jodie Cox. She is wonderful.”
The unseeded Rebels finished with victories over the second-, third- and fourth- seeded teams to become the first section softball champion from the Antelope Valley.
“This is going to take a while to sink in,” said co-Coach Coy Ray. “This feels absolutely great.”
Quartz Hill had been here before, reaching the Division 3-A final in 1991, only to lose, 2-0, to La Mirada.
This time it was the Rebels who scored first.
Cerritos right-hander Jaime O’Neal (15-3) seemed to be nervous in the first inning, walking three of the first four batters.
Slaton bounced a single up the middle to score Penny Wood and Jodie Cox for a 2-0 lead.
“I dream of that situation,” Slaton said. “Usually whoever scores first wins.”
Cox’s ninth home run, in the third, gave Quartz Hill a 3-0 lead, but the Dons answered with two runs in the top of the sixth.
Moments later, Cox (22-3) and teammate Shauan Murray knelt on the dugout steps and prayed. Then Murray delivered a two-out single to drive in Sara Moore for a 4-2 lead.
Murray, who alertly took third when Cerritos catcher Sara Winters disputed the call at the plate, scored when Kellie Cox’s ground ball to shortstop was mishandled for an error.
Jodie Cox worked her way out of a second-and-third jam in the seventh, and in the process turned the Dons’ 18-game winning streak and hopes for a first section title into a memory.
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SOUTHERN SECTION SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS
* Quartz Hill 5: Cerritos 2
* Santiago 2: Rosary 0
at Mayfair Park
* Mater Dei vs. Ayala, 7:30 p.m.
* Pacifica vs. St. Lucy’s, 1 p.m.
* Orange Luth. vs. Calv. Chapel, 10 a.m.
* Crnrstone Chr. vs. Lone Pine, 4:30 p.m.