Sunday, March 18, 2012
Carson softball's Moeai provides power, relief
Colts star pitches 2 1/3 innings and hits decisive two-run homer for Downey title.
By Heather Gripp Correspondent
Posted: 03/13/2012 12:22:24 AM PDT
The South Torrance softball team wasn't getting any breaks, least of all from Brittany Moeai.
A pair of controversial calls hurt the Spartans, but Moeai did even more damage. The Carson senior hit a decisive two-run home run and earned the win with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to lead the Colts to a 4-3 victory over South in Monday's championship game of the Downey Tournament at South Gate Park.
For good measure, Moeai added a diving catch in the seventh inning to help hold off a late Spartans rally and give Carson the title for the third year in a row.
"I was motivated," Moeai said. "I was more mad I couldn't get it done for the team on the mound. Ramie (Barajas) came in and did a good job.
"I was confident we could do it. We were a comeback team today. We haven't had to do that a lot."
The contest marked the fewest runs Carson (6-0) has scored this season, but also the first time a team has scored more than one run against South (5-1).
Spartans ace Carolyn Snodgress (5-1) went the distance, surrendering three earned runs on four hits with seven strikeouts, including two of tournament MVP Darian Tautalafua, who was held to a single after hitting six home runs in the previous four games.
The third and final walk Snodgress issued in the fourth inning is what left South fuming.
With the bases loaded, two out and an apparent 2-2 count to Jezeree Misaalafua, the umpire called the next pitch ball four, forcing in Brianna Tautalafua to cut the Spartans' lead to 3-2. South's initial protest prompted the umpires to send Misaalafua and the runners back, but the call was eventually changed back to a walk and the run scored. Snodgress struck out the next batter.
"There's nothing else we could do," South coach Kevin Van Waardenburg said, noting Carson was the home team. "You go with the home book."
The Colts left no doubt about their scoring the next inning. Darian Tautalafua led off with a single to left, and two batters later, Moeai delivered a two-run home run to right-center for the lead.
"I just really tried to relax and get it done," said Moeai, who was hitless in her two previous at-bats. "I saw D on second and I was just trying to get a single to try to score her."
South threatened in each of the final three innings, but left seven runners on base during that span.
Three consecutive walks in the sixth inning loaded the bases for Spartans leadoff hitter Alex Kossoff, whose grounder to third resulted in a disputed inning-ending out at first base. South loaded the bases again in the seventh before Barajas - Carson's starting pitcher - relieved Moeai and closed out the win.
Barajas had allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits in four innings before Moeai (2-0) moved from first base to the circle.
Freshman Hillary Edior gave Carson the initial lead when she doubled in Brianna Tautalafua in the second inning.
"This was a great team win," Colts coach Cam Werner said. "We've got a group of kids who will do whatever it takes. As a coach, I couldn't be more proud. Each kid contributed.
"That's a great team we just beat."
Denis Flores led South with two hits, an RBI and two stolen bases. Sami Meyer doubled in two runs during the Spartans' three-run third.
This is the second year in a row South lost to Carson in the final.
"It was heartbreaking," Van Waardenburg said. " I told them to hold their heads up. They played a good game and didn't give up. We can only control what we can control. . . .
"But you've got to hand it to Carson, they did a great job. We couldn't push one more run across and that was the difference."