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Could Hoover beat powerhouse Foothill?

Erik Boal

GLENDALE -- o7 Odds and ends from the local high school softball

scene:f7

On any given day...: Think it’s possible for Hoover -- which is 3-8

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entering Thursday’s nonleague game at Downey St. Matthias -- to beat

Santa Ana Foothill (10-1), regarded by many as the best team in Southern

California?

Well, if common opponents factor into the equation, then the answer

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might favor the Tornadoes.

In Thursday’s nonleague game against Saugus, Kirt Kohlmeier’s squad

posted its biggest win of the season, a 1-0, eight-inning triumph at

home.

Sophomore Anna Schnitger had a perfect game entering the eighth inning

and finished with a one-hitter to lift the Tornadoes.

But here comes the interesting part.

Less than a week prior to its showdown with Hoover, Saugus (7-6)

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recorded its biggest victory of the season March 15 with a 3-2 upset of

Foothill in the round of 16 in the prestigious 40-team Ramada Express

Tournament of Champions at Mohave High in Bullhead City, Ariz.

Foothill, which already owns victories against state powers Fresno

Bullard and Clovis and is ranked behind only Fairfield in the state poll,

rebounded to post a 7-0 triumph against Hart -- a Foothill League rival

of Saugus -- to finish ninth in the tournament and has outscored its past

four opponents, 20-2, since its only setback.

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Following their win against Saugus, the Tornadoes dropped both games

in a nonleague doubleheader against Burroughs -- a rival of both Hart and

Saugus in the Foothill League -- on Saturday.

But I guess one can always wonder what if.

Control freak: Kelly Kalish’s statistics during her three-plus year

career as La Canada’s No. 1 pitcher speak for themselves.

A 46-14-2 career record, 448 strikeouts in 440 1/3 innings and an

earned-run average of 0.38.

But of all the senior’s numbers, the most impressive one might be the

amount of walks she’s allowed during that same span: 31.

As a result, Kalish -- who is 4-0-1 with a 0.15 ERA in 47 innings this

season -- is working on a control streak that might not appear in any CIF

Southern Section, state or national record book, but is worth noting

nonetheless.

Since May 5 of last season, when she no-hit Santa Monica Crossroads in

a 7-0 victory, Kalish has not surrendered a walk to 295 consecutive

batters, or a span of 81 1/3 innings.

After surrendering a two-out walk in the seventh inning of the El

Segundo Tournament consolation championship, Kalish faced 133 batters

during the Spartans’ final five-plus games in 2001 without yielding a

free pass.

The Point Loma Nazarene-bound right-hander picked up right where she

left off last season, facing 162 batters without a walk to open the 2002

campaign.

During her streak -- which she hopes to continue in Friday’s Rio Hondo

League showdown against rival South Pasadena at Orange Grove Park --

Kalish has only reached a three-ball count 16 times, including just six

this year, and has struck out 94 batters.

Of her 509 pitches this season, 411 have been for strikes, or 80.7%.,

resulting in 59 strikeouts.

This Nitro has been recharged: Kris Kohlmeier knows how much Heather

Hamasaki means to his Glendale High softball team.

And that’s why the third-year coach has been closely monitoring his

junior pitcher during the nonleague part of the Nitros’ schedule, making

sure that the right-hander wouldn’t fall victim to an early season

burnout.

From the championship game of the 10th annual Hoover Softball Classic

to the opening-round game of the High Desert Classic, Glendale had six

days in between games and Kohlmeier used the friendly scheduling to give

Hamasaki (8-3) -- who leads the area with 75 2/3 innings -- a chance to

regroup in preparation for a grueling stretch of four games in four days,

which concluded with Monday’s 3-1 victory against Victor Valley at

Lancaster City Park.

“If she’s tired or she’s hurting, she usually doesn’t say it,”

Kohlmeier said.

“So I just decided to play it safe and shut her down for a couple of

days.”

And Kohlmeier’s decision paid big dividends Friday and Saturday as

Hamasaki threw a three-hitter with four strikeouts in Glendale’s 4-0

first-round victory against Phelan Serrano and then came back less than

24 hours later to no-hit Burbank, recording seven strikeouts in the 5-0

second-round win against the Bulldogs.

“Friday, she came out firing again and Saturday she had so much energy

it was really great to see,” said Kohlmeier of Hamasaki, who avenged one

of her three losses -- a 2-1 setback in the second game of a March 9

doubleheader -- with her first no-hitter of the season.

“She could have thrown the second game [a 4-3 loss to Hesperia], but I

want to try and keep her as fresh as possible with [Pacific] league

coming up.”


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