PREP SOFTBALL: Lady Cougars stopped Amaral’s no-hitter … Banning on the road for quarterfinals … Lady Broncos two wins away from championship game.
One swing could have changed it all.
Chino Don Lugo High School pitcher Crystal Amaral took a no-hitter into the final inning against Beaumont High School in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 softball playoff on Wednesday.
But the Lady Cougars didn’t let her get away without a fight.
Trailing 4-0, catcher Alyssa Gonzalez lofted a two-out single to center field. After Julia Shephard walked, left fielder Joey Casey drilled a single to left field to load the bases.
Freshman Priscilla Mora, who had two important doubles in last week’s come-from-behind win over San Bernardino Cajon, came up ready to swing against Amaral.
Mora took a hefty cut, just getting under it. She popped the ball into foul play, caught by the third baseman for the game’s final out.
In a battle of 19-win teams that won their respective league championships, Don Lugo’s 4-0 lead held up as the final score against Beaumont despite the late game drama.
Amaral, injured earlier this season, had a no-hitter against Ontario Chaffey (14 strikeouts).
Over her past dozen games, she’s been dominant. Against Beaumont’s power-laden, .358-hitting team, she struck out 12, walked two and surrendered the two seventh inning singles.
She got help from Ellie Garcia’s run-scoring double. Sarah Velasquez homered and singled home another run. Maddy Flexser knocked home Velasquez with a single against Shephard, the Lady Cougars’ sophomore pitcher.
In nearly 128 innings, Amaral has struck 226 hitters, surrendered 68 hits with an earned run average at 1.15.
Amaral, a senior, is headed for Black Hills (S.D.) College.
BANNING ON ROAD
Instead of hosting Crean Lutheran today, Banning (18-4) will head to Irvine for a Southern Section Division 6 game against the Lady Saints (3:15 p.m.).
Banning beat No. 2-seeded Victorville University Prep, 8-4, on Tuesday.
A Lady Broncos’ win over Crean Lutheran (16-9) would send Banning into the May 29 division semifinals against either El Modena (17-5) or third-seeded Palmdale Highland (21-6).
Banning has never played in a CIF softball championship.