Golden Valley softball spoils Hart field opener 

Golden Valley baserunner Italia Ballestrasse (88) beats the throw to Hart's Alexis Lopez (7) at second base at Hart High on Tuesday, 031224. Dan Watson/The Signal

Golden Valley Grizzlies softball was just an out away from a historic win over Hart. Grizzlies catcher Aliyah Clarke took it upon herself to find the last out — and threw out the would-be game-tying run stealing second. 

Clark threw a dime to shortstop Layla Moreno, who made the tag securing the historic win last Tuesday. 

The Grizzlies defeated Hart for the first time in six years on top of stealing the first victory on the Indians’ new softball field. 

Golden Valley won the game, 3-2, in what was a nailbiter from start to finish.  

The Grizzlies struggled to get many balls past the Hart infield off Indians pitcher Allison Specht until a huge at-bat from senior Italia Ballestrasse. 

Ballestrasse, who also pitched well for the Grizzlies, delivered the go-ahead 2 RBI single up the middle to put Golden Valley up 3-1 in the fifth. 

Hart answered in the bottom of the fifth with one run but kept getting stuffed when nearing the game-tying run. 

Ballestrasse struck out four Hart batters and stranded six baserunners in the win. 

Grizzlies freshman Ilana Watson tied the score 1-1 in the fourth inning with a solo home run. 

Golden Valley coach Mike Rego knows how tough Hart and all Foothill League games can get. 

“We had to play well, in order to beat Hart. They’re always a powerhouse,” Rego said in a phone interview. “We try not to play the name game with the girls. We try to analyze stuff but we just tell them to show up and do their best. You can’t play the name game and say, ‘This team was really good or this team really stinks.’ Just go out there, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing and we’re going to give 100%.” 

Golden Valley has already surpassed its win total from the past two seasons combined this year. Rego attributes the success and growth of the program to simple hard work. 

“We’re just working hard,” Rego said. “These girls, after a two-and-a-half-hour practice, they go straight to the cages and they spend another hour and they just hit. We have girls that have never played softball before. These kids were all on the frosh team last year. They’ve come in and they’re just working hard.” 

Golden Valley had its initial league opener postponed due to a weather delay but finally picked up its game with Castaic on Saturday and won 6-2. The team rosters just two seniors and eight freshmen, showing that rebuilding at Golden Valley may soon be over. 

The Grizzlies will have another big test in league on Tuesday when the team returns home to host Saugus at 3:15 p.m. 

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