(Irvine) – Last year, La Salle was close enough to touch to the title only to throw away a chance at victory. This year with a coming-out party for freshman Katie Smither they hold the Division VI Championship that was within their grasp in 2009 with a 6-0 win over defending Champion Marymount.
“They never stopped believing in each other,” said La Salle head coach Rich Diaz. “When the team left La Salle High School they were focused on the bus and when the girls got to the stadium. They played with lots of heart and it showed.”
Lancers pitcher Allie Forillo dazzled for a complete game three-hitter, which saw her strike-out nine Sailors. It was a fitting end to storied career at La Salle for Forillo who finished this season 23-3 and a microscopic 0.53 ERA with 357 strike-outs.
As one star shines brightly one last time, another emerged in Smither whose maturity at the plate began the Lancer onslaught to the title. Smither finished the game three for three and a triple shy of the cycle to lead La Salle’s offense.
“After my first hit,” said Smither. “I came up with confidence in my next at bat. I was telling myself that I can hit her.”
It was Smither who chipped away at the armor of Marymount pitcher Hayley Schultz with a blast that nearly went over the left-center field wall. She would score from second on perfectly placed bunt single from Meaghan Allen that got past Gina Rogari at first base.
With the Lancers already ahead 2-0, the flood gates began to open for the offense as Tori Baltazar smashed a single to right field. Sterling Shuster then placed a 2-2 offering into the right center-field gap to double in Baltazar. Forillo would hit a sharp single up the middle moving Shuster to third and continuing the inning. Samantha Krost would sacrifice in Shuster to give La Salle a 4-0 lead before Smither’s homerun over the right-center field fenced iced the victory for the Lancers.
La Salle’s nemesis last season was Megan Blank who drew three walks and stole three bases last season in leading the Sailors to the Championship. This year, Forillo worked her inside and struck her out to set the tone of their battles. When the game was over, Blank managed a one for three day and was caught trying to stretch a single into a double.
“Last year, we tried to pitch to Blank outside and she got her hands out,” said Forillo. “I pitched her inside so she couldn’t get her bat extended.”
Forillo closed out the game by inducing three ground balls to end the game. The last out fittingly dribbled to her and she threw to first to get Meagan Rafferty out.
It is the second softball title in four years for the Lancers who will be moving on up to Division III next season.
LA SALLE 0 0 1 0 1 4 0 6 12 1
MARYMOUNT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 4
WP: Allie Forillo (23-3)
LP: Hayley Schultz (18-3)
HR: Katie Smither
2B: Smither, Sterling Shuster,
RBIS: Smither 2, Shuster, Allen, Worley, Krost