West Ranch softball stuns Valencia

West Ranch's Sara Olsen (1) is mobbed by teammates after hitting an RBI fly-ball to win the game in the eighth inning against Valencia at West Ranch on Tuesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Tied with Valencia in the bottom of the eighth inning, West Ranch softball’s Sara Olson turned to her team in the dugout before heading to her at-bat.

“I got you guys,” she said, “Let’s go.”

With Lily Baggot waiting on second base, Olson launched a walk-off hit that nearly reached the center field wall to drive in Baggot and beat the Vikings 6-5.

It was the first Foothill League game Valencia lost since the 2016 season.

“My mentality was just to get a base hit. I just wanted to score the runner and do it for the team because we’re all a team,” Olson said. “We all did this together. It wasn’t just one person.”

The Wildcats (5-5 overall, 2-1 in Foothill League) had some big hits in the first inning, starting with a two-run home run from Adrienne Chang. Julie Mennuti hit a sacrifice fly later in the inning to drive in Gianna Lombardi and give West Ranch a 3-0 lead.

Valencia (12-3, 2-1) put up two runs in the second inning, but wasn’t able to tie the game until the sixth inning. Cheyanne Marxer got on base after being hit by a pitch, then the next two batters popped out to move her to third. Lani Paragas drilled a triple to send Marxer home and tie the game at 3-3.

“It takes two hits to score a run and they got those hits and got them in,” said West Ranch pitcher Jenna Rorick. “It’s just part of the game. So we came back and we got some hits too.”

West Ranch took the lead once again in the bottom of the inning when Delaney Bevan hit a solo home run over the center field fence. It was the Cats’ only hit of the inning.

The Vikings scored two runs in the seventh inning, the first of which came on an RBI single from Alexis DeYoung. The second was an unearned run.

The Cats’ Jenna Rorick was able to tie the game one final time in the bottom of the seventh by hitting an RBI double to send home Chang, who had hit a double to get on base earlier.

Rorick and the West Ranch defense held off Valencia in the eighth inning, striking out the first batter, then forcing a groundout and a pop out.

“She’s a leader. She’s our captain,” Wildcats coach Phil Giarizzo said of Rorick. “She’s intelligent. For the most part, she knows what pitch to throw and we could let her call the pitches and she would pretty much dictate the game.”

Baggot was walked in the second at-bat of the inning, then was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Madison Flatt. Olson stepped up for one final hit to end the game.

“We were down at the bottom of the lineup and nobody felt that way,” Giarizzo said. “We felt like we were going to get on, Sara was going to come up and she was going to get the hit that she got and that’s exactly what happened.”

Valencia next hosts Saugus, which is undefeated in league play, on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. West Ranch looks to carry its momentum into Thursday’s game at Hart at the same time.

“We’re going to win league with this,” Olson said. “If we play like this, we’re going to win league.”

Hart 6, Canyon 0

Hart’s Aly Kaneshiro went 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs. Juliette Owen was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run and Kenzi Gardette had a pinch hit single to score two. Allison Howell pitched a complete-game, four-hit shutout.

The Indians improve to 9-4 and 2-1 on the season, while Canyon is 1-15 and 0-3. The Cowboys next play at Golden Valley on Thursday at 3:15.

Saugus 12, Golden Valley 2

McKenna Gibson went 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double and three RBIs for the Centurions. Gracie Keene was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs and Bella Alvarez was 2-for-4 with a home run a double, two RBIs and a run. Clarissa Ellwein went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run.

Malia Risdall pitched five innings for the Cents, allowing three hits and one run while recording three strikeouts.

Saugus moves to 11-4 and 3-0 this season and the Grizzlies are 2-10 and 0-3.

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About the author

Haley Sawyer

Haley Sawyer

A Pennsylvania native, Haley Sawyer has covered sports across the country. She is a graduate of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh and is the sports editor at The Signal.