When it comes to getting a key hit for the Dos Pueblos softball team, the player’s grade level doesn’t matter.
On Tuesday, in a scoreless second-round CIF Division 4 playoff game against visiting Santa Monica, freshman Ady Willett stepped up and delivered in the clutch. Called to pinch-hit in the fifth inning, Willett singled through right side of the infield to score Cassie Davis for the only run in a 1-0 Chargers’ victory.
Dos Pueblos (25-3), the defending division champion, advances to a quarterfinal matchup with La Habra on Thursday in Orange County. La Habra beat Ocean View 6-5.
It was the midas touch of coach Lee Harris to bat Willett in the game’s key situation for DP.
“I would say I’ve had a pretty good percentage in putting players in key positions,” Harris said with a smile. “She came through. We’ve been practicing for that, her coming off the bench and putting her in a nervous type of thing, and she just hit away. That was sweet.”
Willett said the hit made up for missing an earlier squeeze sign.
“I just had to get it back and get a solid hit to make up for my mistake,” she said. “It makes me feel like a really big part of the team, which feels good.”
DP senior pitcher Hannah Harris said she had complete confidence in Willett.
“She always makes solid contact on the ball and she did a great job,” said Harris.
Davis set up Willett’s heroics with a beautiful drag bunt to start the fifth against Santa Monica pitcher Sara Garcia, who had allowed only a leadoff hit by Harris in the first inning
“You got to give it to Cassie for doing that delayed bunt to get on first,” said coach Harris. “That set it up for Ady. Their first baseman was (positioned) way back and I know Cassie can put down a bunt. And, I know they’re pitching outside, so it was the perfect situation to do that.”
Alyssa Lewis followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Davis to second.
After seeing her two teammate execute on their bunts, Willett said, “I just thought I had to keep the rally going.”
DP’s run came after a brilliant defensive play by Harris in the top of the fifth. Santa Monica’s Kelly Ricard started the inning by dropping a fly ball between second baseman Salas and right fielder Davis for a double. Marissa Padilla’s sacrifice moved Ricard to third. Harris then got Carly Condon to hit back to the box and Harris fired to third baseman Kai Uyesaka who tagged out Ricard for the second out of the inning.
“Oh my God, my heart was racing on that one,” said Hannah Harris.
“That was just key for the win,” coach Harris said of Hannah’s play.
The inning ended when Charger catcher Haley Peterson threw out Condon attempting to steal second.
The Fresno State-bound Harris threw a one hitter and got 13 ground-ball outs.
“My defense was amazing,” Hannah Harris said. “There’s nothing more than I can ask as a pitcher from my defense.”
Hannah was just throwing some heat to keep them at bay,” said coach Harris.
Santa Monica finished at 16-14.