Hart softball hosts 2-time-defending CIF champs today

Hart's Andrea Cespedes (2) catches a fly ball in the outfield during a softball game at Golden Valley on April 25. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

You’d think, maybe, that Hart softball’s playoff road would ease up a little after it knocked off the bracket’s No. 2 seed in the first round.

It didn’t.

The Indians (17-12) will host two-time defending CIF champ Paraclete of Lancaster today at 3:15 p.m. in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 second-round game.

The Spirits (20-7) won both those crowns in Division 6 before vaulting up three playoff groupings this offseason, but they did it in compelling fashion.

Paraclete went 28-0 last season, according to MaxPreps, and 27-3 the year before.

The Spirits, who feature Arizona State recruit Rylee Maston, a catcher/infielder, beat Hart 11-3 on March 18 at the High Desert Classic in Lancaster.

Hart’s Kylie Norwood (13) throws a pitch during a softball game against Royal of Simi Valley on Tuesday. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

The loss, though, apparently hasn’t hurt Hart’s confidence.

“They beat us pretty well,” said Indians third baseman Abby Sweet. “But we’re ready to go out and show them what we’re made of this time. I think we’ll come out strong. We hit their pitching really well last time. It’s going to be another battle of the bats.”

That’s been the story of Hart’s season. It averages more than seven and a half runs a game.

The Indians beat Royal of Simi Valley 13-9 in the wild-card round on May 16. They beat No. 2 seed Redlands 11-8 in Thursday’s first round.

Paraclete can swing it, too, though.

In the first round, the Spirits beat California of Whittier, 8-7, in walk-off fashion.

Hart also had a dramatic first-round. It gave away most of a 9-3 lead in the fifth before holding on for an 11-8 win at Redlands.

Indians shortstop Brooke Marquez went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple in the game. She also had three RBIs.

She’s had five multi-hit games in her last seven.

Five Indians had multiple hits Thursday.

In the circle, Hart rotates Kylie Norwood, its leading hitter, and Mona Trevizo. Trevizo, a sophomore transfer from Texas, has pitched well in big spots. None bigger than the fifth inning Thursday when she re-entered the game in the fifth inning with the tying run at second base.

She recorded the final out, and Hart lived to see another day.

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