Sailors edge Sea Kings

Gandi's home run helps Newport Harbor grab victory in the Battle of the Bay.

March 29, 2012|By Matt Szabo

NEWPORT BEACH — Righty against lefty, junior against freshman.

The Battle of the Bay softball game turned into a pitcher's duel Tuesday at Bonita Creek Park. Newport Harbor junior Hattie Marshall and Corona del Mar freshman Sydney McKeown matched each other nearly pitch for pitch.

Newport-Mesa Girls' Softball hosted the game. Plenty of young girls in Newport-Mesa uniforms watched the teams fail in their quests to put up crooked numbers on the nonexistent scoreboard.


This was not the blowout of years past.

The Sailors still found a way to end up on top.

Junior captain Lauren Gandi hit a solo home run in the fourth inning and the Sailors hung on to win the rivalry game, 2-1, for the fifth straight year.

Newport Harbor (10-0) is off to its best start in many years, if not program history. The Sailors, ranked No. 7 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 coaches' poll, already collected the Costa Mesa tournament title earlier this month. They are in the semifinals of the Savanna tournament on Saturday.

"They're doing a great job," first-year coach Russell Hartman said. "They're confident. It doesn't matter who's on the other side of the field, they come out and play the same game every single time. It's working for them."

Marshall has recorded all 10 of the Sailors' wins. She allowed one earned run on three hits Tuesday, walking three and striking out six. She also got run support in the bottom of the first inning, thanks to junior captain Breanna Lopez.

The Sailors' leadoff hitter connected on a single to center. She stole second and third before scoring on a one-out RBI groundout from freshman Zoey Meyers.

Gandi provided an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth, smacking the first pitch she saw to deep left field. With no outfield fences at Bonita Creek, every home run is of the inside-the-park variety, and Gandi hustled around the bases to score fairly easily

"It was right inside, down the middle," Gandi said of her second home run of the season. "Those are my favorite to hit, and it felt really nice. It just felt so good. It was smooth."

Newport Harbor needed the insurance run. CdM (7-6) responded in the top of the sixth, after senior Lindsey Susolik worked a two-out walk. She went to second on a passed ball and scored on an RBI single to right by junior Taryn Maister.

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