Prep softball notebook: Hart tourney rescheduled; Valencia starting strong

Due to inclement weather, the Hart Varsity Softball Tournament that was scheduled to begin on Feb. 9 has been rescheduled to begin on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Central Park.

Featuring 16 schools from across Southern California, Foothill League schools Hart, Saugus and West Ranch, along with Camarillo, Louisville, Calabasas and Chaminade will play at least two games on Saturday and will either move onto the winners or losers bracket that will be played the following weekend on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Hart plays St. Bonaventure and Saugus plays Quartz Hill at 12 p.m. Both teams will play again at 4 p.m.

West Ranch plays Oxnard in its first game at 2 p.m. and will play its second game at 6 p.m.

Valencia starts season strong

Valencia softball got the 2018-19 season underway in dominant fashion with a 13-1 win against Agoura at Valencia High School on Tuesday.

In the circle to begin the season for the Vikings (1-0 overall), Emma Montoya earned her first win of the season. She surrendered just one run on two hits, while striking out three batters over the course of five innings.

Brianne Stone came into relieve Montoya for the final inning.

”Last year she was the backup behind Shea, so she didn’t have a lot of pitching time,” said Valencia head coach Donna Lee. “She was on the team to really get mentored by Shea and I think she came out yesterday worked ahead of the batters and moved the ball around. I think she did a really good job for her first outing.”

Agoura’s (0-1) pitching couldn’t handle the Vikings bats, giving up two home runs on 11 hits in the loss. Valencia players Emma Branson, Delaney Scully and Emma Seper each finished with a multi-hit day.

Scully and Alexis De Young hit home runs in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively.

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“I think they were patient,” Lee said. “They were waiting for their pitches and as a team, I think we had six extra-base hits. We had a lot of expectations after graduating eight, but I told them to go out there and play their game and they did a great job. They were seeing the ball well and they revved up the bats in the later innings.”

Valencia plays in the 43rd Annual Suzanne Manley Softball Tournament in Simi Valley at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

“We are going to take a lot of BP and working with the pitchers and finding their spots. Keeping the batters off-balance, changing eye-levels and just doing what we need to do. We have 16 girls and all 16 can contribute to this year’s team so it’s not going to one player that’s going to carry us, it’s going to be all 16 girls that carry us.”

Vikings alumna instant impact at University of Tennessee

Beginning the 2018-19 season ranked No. 8 in both the USA Today/NFCA Division 1 Preseason Coaches’ Poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll, the University of Tennessee softball team has a couple new faces that have contributed to the season’s hot start, one being former Valencia catcher Ally Shipman.

Coming away with a 13-2 win over the University of Illinois Chicago in its first game of the year at the Kickin Chicken Classic, the Lady Volunteers have won five-in-a-row outscoring their opponents 49-4 over that stretch.

Going 1-for-4 in her first collegiate game, Shipman hit a three-run home run over the left field wall setting the tone for the year.

“Four years of playing Division 1 softball at such a high-level program like Valencia and just some of the teams that we have played, she has seen some phenomenal pitching through high school and it’s just going to carry on into college,” Lee said. “Her dream is to someday play for the Olympic team, but she’s successful because she’s such a hard worker and that’s what it’s all about.

Since her breakout game, Shipman has gone 6-of-16 at the plate with a double and a home run and leads the Lady Vols with a team-high nine RBIs through five games played.

“You can’t just wake up and say this is who she is.  She has worked hard for the last 18 years and she deserves everything she gets. She has a work ethic that is off the charts.”

The Lady Volunteers suit up and play Notre Dame in the St. Pete Clearwater Elite Invitational in Clearwater, Flo. at 10 a.m. on Friday. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

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