Tue, May 25 2010 11:59 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
If fans of the home-standing Bonita Vista Barons were expecting cartwheels and war whoops after Monday's 2-0 victory against the Hilltop Lancers, they were disappointed. After the final out was recorded in a nerve-racking seventh inning, the Barons simply walked off the field in rather business-like fashion and exchanged several high-fives.
Such was the celebration, if one could call it that, to cap this year's Mesa League championship softball game.
Perhaps Bonita Vista's players have something bigger in mind to celebrate.
Might that be a few more victories in this year's San Diego Section playoffs?
The ninth-ranked Barons assured themselves of a berth in this year's Division I double-elimination field after Monday's intense win. The league title was the second consecutive for Bonita Vista, which improved to 9-0 in league play, 18-5-1 overall.
Monday's victory was the 15th consecutive for the Barons and the 10th shutout of the season for ace hurler Jennifer Hartman (16-5).
On second thought, maybe a ticker-tape parade wasn't in order Monday - winning appears to have become old hat for the back-to-back Mesa League champions.
Hartman spun a four-hitter, taking a one-hit shutout into the seventh before faltering a bit by allowing three singles to load the bases. But she got out of the jam on two infield put-outs and a short fly out.
But it could have been a different outcome had one of those balls veered a few inches either way off the bat.
Could it be that a collective sigh of relief was more appropriate than a series of cartwheels?
Bonita Vista entered the game with a one-game lead in the league standings, meaning that the Lancers needed to capture the teams' two-game series to capture this year's league title. The Barons, meanwhile, needed only to win one of the two match-ups.
Hartman struck out eight batters in the game while surviving through a 20-pitch seventh inning. She lowered her earned-run average to 0.74 - a figure that ranks second in the section.
Out-dueled in the contest was Hilltop standout Alysha Isaacson, who gave up five hits in six innings. Her record dropped to 11-3 with the loss.
The Lancers entered the teams' regular season finale on Wednesday 7-2 in league, 21-6 overall.
Jaycee Carlson provided the only runs the hosts would need on a two-run home run in the third inning. Hannah Flippin reached base on a single prior to Carlson's homer to right field.
Andrea Lara, Ruby Elliot and Anissa Pinedo each collected singles in the game.
Isaacson, Tiffany Salcedo and Maura Cien-Mayer each reached base on singles in the seventh inning for the Lancers, who needed one big hit of their own to clear the base paths and force a tie atop the league standings.
But for the second consecutive year a must-win game against the Barons didn't materialize.
A total of 12 teams are selected to compete in the upcoming Division I playoffs. Four teams receive byes to the double-elimination round while eight teams battle in single-elimination play-in contests.
Seeding was to be announced Thursday, with play-in games scheduled Saturday and the opening round of double-elimination play starting Monday.
Hilltop won its play-in game last year against Ramona to draw Bonita Vista in its first game in the double-elimination tournament.
The third-seeded Barons topped the Lancers, 11-10, in the opening round of last year's Division II playoffs but dropped their next two games to Steele Canyon and Mt. Carmel. Hilltop finished 3-2, with additional victories against Valhalla and Westview. Mt. Carmel defeated Steele Canyon to win last year's Division II championship.
Regular season finales
Bonita Vista and Hilltop drew a rematch Wednesday on the Lancers' field, with the Barons coming out on top, 6-2, a Hartman fired a three-hitter. Lara had three RBI in the game while Flippin drove in two runs.
The game was meaningless as far as the league championship was concerned but pivotal in preparing for the upcoming playoffs.
Fiana Finau carried the big bat in Hilltop's 12-8 win over Otay Ranch with a double, home run and five RBI. Jordan Rhudy improved to 10-2 in the pitching circle.
Mar Vista (12-0, 21-7) wrapped up this year's South Bay League title by defeating Sweetwater, 13-0, on Wednesday after previously downing the Red Devils, 9-1, on Monday.
Angel Iacovetti struck out 12 batters in hand-cuffing Sweetwater on one hit in Monday's SBL victory. Bianca Lujan led the Mariners with two runs batted in.
Iacovetti improved to 14-5 with a 2.43 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 115 innings after Monday's win.
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