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Quartz Hill’s Ailing Cox Sickens Righetti

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Rain suspended Quartz Hill High’s softball playoff game Thursday, forcing the Rebels to once again make the 340-mile round trip to Santa Maria Righetti on Saturday.

Nearly 700 miles and 16 hours on buses were all but forgotten, however, thanks to a 250-foot drive off the bat of pitcher Jodie Cox.

Cox’s line triple over the center fielder’s head drove in Andrea Cabriales and Kellie Cox in the top of the 14th inning and provided the Rebels with a 2-0 victory over second-seeded Righetti in the quarterfinals of the Southern Section Division II playoffs.

“I felt I owed it to myself and the team,” said Cox (20-3), who struck out three times and was hitless in her first five at-bats. “I just got something I could drive.”

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The junior left-hander outlasted Righetti pitcher Jocelyn Forest (23-5), who struck out 24 batters and entered the 13th inning with a one-hitter. Forest finished the season with 339 strikeouts.

“But we never, ever, ever gave up [against her],” said Jodie Cox, who struck out nine, hit three batters and allowed nine hits. “The way we’ve been playing, we felt we couldn’t lose.”

Cox was battling a sore throat, chest cold and repeated cramps in her left calf, at one point needing a rub-down from her father.

“Winning the game makes me feel a little better, though,” she said.

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The Rebels (22-3-2) advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1991. They will meet Jurupa Valley at an alternate site determined by coin flip Monday.

A downpour Thursday forced suspension of the game with two outs in the top of the fifth inning.

When play resumed, Forest retired the first 24 batters she faced.

It wasn’t until Cabriales and Kellie Cox both reached base in the 14th that Quartz Hill advanced a runner beyond first.

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During that same time, the Warriors reached base 18 times, with 12 runners reaching scoring position.

“We had a lot of chances and didn’t take advantage of them,” said Forest, a senior right-hander who has committed to California. “They had one chance and they took advantage of it.”

Cabriales led off the 14th with a single to right field. When Kellie Cox followed with a slow grounder to shortstop, Cabriales beat the throw to second base, setting up Jodie Cox’s smash of a two-ball, two-strike rise ball from Forest.

Earlier this month, Cox slugged a home run in the 13th inning to give Quartz Hill a victory over rival Highland for the Golden League championship.

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“I’d just as soon have her batting than anyone else I can think of,” Rebel co-Coach Coy Ray said.


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