Mira Costa’s Jenna Ortega blasted a grand slam in the top of the third inning that gave Mira Costa a 5-3 lead. Then pitcher Angel Santellan got the final out on a strikeout with the bases loaded to preserve the lead and get the victory last Saturday in Redondo Beach.
“We like to make it interesting,” said Mira Costa head coach Brittany Gardner. “There was a little anxiety in the dugout, but we got through it.”
Santellan was big at the plate and on the mound. She scored the winning run on the grand slam after getting on base with a hit that loaded the bases.
“She did a great job,” Gardner said. “Angel’s been a solid hitter for us all year. She has been our starting third baseman and then has done great on the mound. She is one of those stable players that you know you can rely on and she came in and shut them down.”
Santellan also drove in the first run for Mira Costa bringing home Amanda Siegel from second.
“We love playing Redondo Union,” Santellan said. “It’s just a good game for us to come together to beat our rival.”
Redondo Union fought hard and did not go down easily. It was a rivalry game and brought out the best in both teams.
“It would have been really nice to hit a grand slam then,” said Redondo Union’s Amy Simonek, junior, who was at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs and a chance to be the hero. “I feel like this has been the most stressful situation I’ve been in. It’s the Mira Costa game, it’s the big rivalry. I was feeling the extra pressure to get that hit and I wanted to win it for my team.”
Simonek missed on what she said was a “very good riseball.”
“It’s always a great rivalry, Redondo and Mira Costa,” Gardner said. “With us having two defending championships we have the target on our backs and they always show up and play us hard.”
The win improved Mira Costa’s Bay League mark to 4-1 and tied it with Palos Verdes with three games to go.
Mira Costa returned to the field for a 3-1 victory at home over Saint Joseph’s of Lakewood last Tuesday. The win improved their overall mark to 14-11.
Against Redondo Union, Mira Costa was trailing 3-1 after two innings. The Sea Hawks’ Carly Koltko, sophomore, held the Mustangs in check while the offense gave her an early lead against Mira Costa starting pitcher Katie Katsuyama.
“I did not have my best game today, but I knew my team had my back and Angel came in and did a real good job of keeping them off the board and our team put up a lot of runs so it was a good day,” Katsuyama said.
The lead did not hold though as Mira Costa took the lead on one big swing by Ortega. She got a hold of a pitch and drove it over the left field fence and it proved to be all the Mustangs needed.
“I just saw a good pitch that I was able to drive,” Ortega said.
It was her first career grand slam.
“It was amazing,” Santellan said. “I saw it go out.”
“That was an amazing hit,” Koltko said. “I left it up on the plate a little bit and she just got a hold of it.”
After her big hit, both teams were held in check offensively.
“It just came down to a couple errors, a base hit and that is when the grand slam happened,” said Redondo Union head coach Jennifer Dessert, who is in her 16th year.
“They’ve always been good hitters,” said Simonek of Mira Costa.
Even though she took the loss, Koltko is a star on the rise for Redondo Union.
“Carly has improved immensely from freshman to her sophomore year,” Dessert said. “She is on the way to breaking the strikeout record this season.”
The Sea Hawks are just three years removed from playing the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship.
“This year I have a lot of youth,” Dessert said.
“We lost a lot of seniors,” said shortstop Dara English, junior. “It’s good change and they have stepped up.”
Redondo Union has been unable to get key hits, but they have “great chemistry.”
“The girls are getting along great,” Dessert said. “They are a good team. It is easier to get through the losses.”
The loss dropped Redondo Union to 2-2 in league and they are 6-13 overall.
Both teams will play again in Manhattan Beach with Redondo Union looking to spoil Mira Costa’s Bay League title hopes.