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By Tom Connolly
LA MIRADA – Amber Hickman and Jen Rivas combined to pitch a three-hit shutout and Lisa Perez and Annie Dipillo hit homeruns to lift La Mirada to an 11-0 victory over Norwalk in a Suburban League softball game Wednesday afternoon at La Mirada High.
Hickman (3-0) gave up three hits, struck out two and did not walk a batter over four innings of work as the Matadors (3-0, 7-4) remained atop and undefeated in league play. Rivas came on in relief and pitched a perfect fifth inning as the “mercy” rule was invoked after five innings.
“I was all right but I felt a little gummy at first probably from not warming up enough,” said Hickman. “Our defense played great and this win gives us confidence.”
Matadors’ coach Richard Trujillo said he liked what he saw from his team.
“I liked that we had patience and hit the ball up the middle,” said Trujillo, who is in his 14th year at the helm of La Mirada. “There is no snibbling and we’re playing together as a unit. We’re playing at an even keel and we’re getting better. Our goal is to peak at the end of the season.”
La Mirada pounded out 12 hits and jumped on Lady Lancers‘ starter, Vanessa Venegas, right away in the first inning.
Matadores’ leadoff hitter, Mylee Macahilig, singled and promptly stole second. The senior left fielder moved to third on a groundout. Perez walked and then Dipillo (four RBIs, two hits and two runs) drilled a two-run double to center to give La Mirada a, 2-0, lead. Later in the inning Becca Rice clubbed a two-run double and Lyndsey Viayra added an RBI single as La Mirada jumped out to a 5-0 lead after one inning.
“As a lead off hitter I feel my role is to get on base,” said Macahilig, who three hits, two stolen bases and an RBI. “If I do that I’m showing the others that they can do it also. We got to the finals last year and we want to prove to everyone that it wasn’t a fluke. This season we want to win it all. We can’t take anyone for granted and we can’t let up.”
Hickman was in complete control as she allowed only one Norwalk runner past second base.
The Lady Lancers best scoring opportunity came in the third inning. Paola Martinez was hit by a pitch and moved to second on Ilene Vasquez’s single. Jazmin Guzman bunted the runners over to second and third. Hickman then dug down deep and struck out Martha Camacho and retired Samantha Lujan on a fly to left to get out of the inning.
Perez blasted a two-run homer – her third of the season – in the second inning. The Matadors got RBI singles from Hickman and Macahilig in the third inning to up its lead to 9-0. Dipillo added her second round tripper of the season – a two-run shot to right center – in the fourth inning to highlight the Matadors hitting onslaught.
“I hit a low inside fastball and it felt good when I connected with the ball,” said Perez.
Dipillo agreed with her teammate.
“It felt good to hit a homerun,” said Dipillo. “Scoring runs early got our energy up and we are coming together as a team.”
Rice had two hits and scored two runs and Courtney Skogen scored two runs for La Mirada.
Despite the loss Norwalk coach Jason Reyes remained upbeat and said he expects better days are ahead for the Lady Lancers.
“We are capable of competing with the top teams in our league,” said Reyes. “We feel our girls are equally talented one through 9, so it’s frustrating when they don’t prove it. We’ll come back. We just need to be mentally prepared.”
The same two teams hook up again at Norwalk High on Friday.
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