Really, it only seems fair.
Opponents aren’t giving Valencia catcher Ally Shipman many pitches to hit. So Viking pitcher Shea O’Leary is returning the favor.
O’Leary threw her third straight Foothill League shutout Tuesday in a 3-0 home win over Saugus, and Shipman walked three times, twice intentionally, to further cement her status as the league’s most-feared hitter.
In three Foothill League games, Shipman has now walked nine times in 12 plate appearances.
Prep softball: Saugus intentionally walked Ally Shipman in her 2nd at bat with runner on 1st. Cents got her to fly out to lead off game.
— Mason Nesbitt (@mason_nesbitt) April 18, 2017
“Even with (former Valencia stars) Madison Shipman and Jessica Spigner, (teams) still pitched to them,” said Valencia coach Donna Lee, whose team improved to 15-7 overall and 3-0 in the Foothill League, “…and they were just as strong.”
The Centurions (12-9, 2-1) intentionally walked Shipman with runners on first and second and one out in the fourth inning. A walk to the next hitter, Kelia Paragas, forced in Valencia’s third run.
It was enough for O’Leary, who allowed four hits, struck out five and walked two.
“Honestly, nothing was particularly working,” O’Leary said. “It was on and off throughout every batter. Everything was different. Either it was the curveball working for one batter or the screwball. It was all over the place, but it worked.”
The Vikings spotted O’Leary two runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Kyla Hardy and Nikki West hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the opening frame of what was otherwise another strong performance from Saugus freshman Libbie McMahan.
The freshman, called on in relief Thursday after Leslie Reynaga took a line drive to the face, pitched all six innings for Saugus on Tuesday.
She allowed six hits and five walks (two intentional), but she kept the Centurions within striking distance.
“For a freshman to come out there, it didn’t seem like she was intimidated,” said Saugus coach Julie Archer. “She threw a great game. I was very proud of her performance.”
Cassidy FitzGerald’s sixth-inning single made her the last Centurion to reach base.
She finished 2-for-3.
West went 2-for-3 for Valencia, which has now won four of its last five games against Saugus.
The teams split last season’s two matchups and, ultimately, the league title.
West Ranch 9, Hart 7
The Wildcats (8-11, 1-2) racked up 13 hits to earn their first win of Foothill League play. Delaney Bevan provided the biggest, a game-winning three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning. Jaclyn Napoli went 3-for-4 with a solo home run, three runs scored and two RBIs.
Wildcat Jenna Rorick was 2-for-2.
Brooke Marquez went 3-for-5 for the Indians (12-8, 1-2).
Golden Valley 7, Canyon 0
Cassidy Cangemi pitched a complete-game shutout with nine strikeouts for the Grizzlies (11-7, 2-1). Nicole Smart went 3-for-3.
Canyon is 9-10 overall and 0-3 in league.