Lady Spartans retire last six batters in 4-2 win over La Jolla Lady Vikings

The Lady Spartans strategize on the mound during Friday’s softball game against La Jolla High School.

EL CENTRO – The Central Lady Spartans girls’ softball team overcame an early one-point deficit at home Friday afternoon and prevailed 4-2 over the La Jolla High Lady Vikings in a pre-season non-conference contest.

La Jolla put a run on the board in the top of the first inning when they brought in a hit batter to claim a quick 1-0 lead.  In the bottom half of the first, Central shortstop Jessica Acosta reached base on a single with one out, but was left stranded as the next two batters were retired.

The top of the second inning went three-up, three-down for the Lady Vikings as the Lady Spartan infielders held position and swallowed up ground balls and produced accurate throw-outs at first.

Central evened up the game in the bottom of the second inning when La Jolla’s fielding miscues contributed to a Lady Spartan score to make it 1-1 heading into the third.

After another shutout half inning, in the bottom of the third, Acosta hit a grounder up the middle that landed her on first base. With one on and one away, third basemen Jailene Gonzalez stepped up and lined one into right field that brought in a run to snatch a 2-1 Central advantage.  A passed ball resulted in a stolen base that situated the Lady Spartans in scoring position. The next batter, catcher Amanda Alcala, ripped one into center field for another Central RBI, increasing the score to 3-1.

Three La Jolla batters were retired consecutively atop the fourth inning on pop-outs. The Lady Spartans’ first two batters in the fourth, left fielder Mia Perez and center fielder Alyssa Gonzalez, utilized back to back bunts to get on base.  Centrals’ second baseman, Janyssa Martin, assisted on another run as she knocked in her teammate to push the lead to 4-1.

The Lady Vikings showed signs of life with three singles in the top of the fifth that yielded a La Jolla score to close the gap to 4-2.

The Lady Spartans fell into an offensive funk and were unable to produce any more hits throughout the remainder of the ball game. Fortunately for Central, no more runs were necessary as pitcher Shanice Buffington retired the other side in six at-bats to close out the last two innings and the game for the 4-2 victory.

Central hit the road early the next morning to take on Christian High School in the semifinal of the M.V. Gold Tournament where they experienced their first taste of defeat this season in a game that remained close until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Patriots put up nine runs to claim a 10-0 shutout.

At 5-1, the Lady Spartans have the best record among their Imperial Valley League rivals going into the upcoming wave of conference play.