Marysville defeats Lindhurst, clinches GEL title
Welch sisters lead Indians
Mission No. 1 is complete, now Marysville High's softball team can begin preparing for the postseason.
Led by the solid play of a couple of underclassmen and another dominant pitching performance from senior ace Ashten Welch, the Indians wrapped up their second consecutive Golden Empire League title on Wednesday by beating rival Lindhurst 6-2 in Olivehurst.
Winning back-to-back GEL championships was the goal all along for Marysville, which returned eight players from a team that finished 20-7 a year ago while making it to the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs.
And while this year's club boasts a ton of playing experience, coach Maurice Clavelle was quick to point out that his team still has room to grow.
"I start three sophomores and a freshman so we're not old, we're young," Clavelle said. "My sophomores are carrying the load on offense right now. The youngsters have been hitting well and I'm proud of them."
Marysville (19-3, 12-0) went up for good by scoring four runs in the top of the third. Freshman Kennedy Baker started the rally with a single and was followed by a double by sophomore Taylor Ferrari and a walk to Tressa Arostegui to load the bases.
Jocelynn Talosig then laid down a bunt that got past Blazer starting pitcher Kristan Montgomery and rolled all the way to the outfield, allowing two runs to score. Sophomore Brina Buttacavoli was up next and delivered a solid two-run single back up the middle to make it 4-0 Indians.
Lindhurst (15-8-1, 9-3) got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when freshman Deja Hawkins doubled and came in to score on a single by fellow freshman Keianna Hostetler to make it a 4-1 game.
The score remained the same until the top of the sixth when sophomore Morgan Welch clubbed a two-run homer over the wall in left, giving the Indians a 6-1 advantage.
The Blazers completed the scoring when Shawna Hulsey drove in Montgomery in the bottom half of the inning.
Ashten Welch went on to strike out 13 batters and allowed five hits to record her 16th victory of the season, and third win against the Blazers. Welch threw a two-hitter against Lindhurst on March 22 and followed that up with a one-hitter on April 4.
"Ashten's rise-ball is a great pitch, so I told them not to swing under it and to keep their hands on top of the ball," Lindhurst coach Bill Biggs said. "I thought they did a fantastic job. We hit a lot better and played good defense, so I have no complaints."
Talosig led all hitters by going 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. Morgan Welch went 2 for 3 with a triple and the home run and Ashten Welch helped her own cause by going 2 for 3 for the Indians, who collected 11 hits in the game.
Hawkins went 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles and Montgomery doubled as well to lead the way for the Blazers, who will play a doubleheader at Dixon on Friday to decide who gets the No. 2 spot out of the GEL.
Marysville still has two games left against West Campus and one against Mesa Verde.
"I told them at the beginning of the year that we could win league and they said they wanted to go undefeated," Clavelle said. "I don't have to fire these girls up, they're always ready to go."
CONTACT Andy Arrenquin at email@example.com or 749-4790. Find him on Facebook at /advarsitysports or on Twitter at @ADaarrenquin