What appeared to be a routine foul ball proved to be too much for the Redondo softball team to overcome Tuesday in a CIF Southern Section Division 5 semifinal playoff game against Torrance.
With two outs in the top of the first inning, Sea Hawks catcher Alyssa Hatakeyama was unable to corral Andrea Perez’s foul popup.
“I was really nervous (in that at-bat), and I just wanted another chance,” Perez said. “I got under (the foul ball).”
On the next pitch, Perez lined a run-scoring single into center field, setting the tone on a day that saw Torrance score six runs in the first two innings before handing Redondo a 13-2 loss.
The victory sends Torrance (23-9) to its third championship game in four years, where it will play Louisville at Irvine’s Bill Barber Park on Friday or Saturday. Torrance’s last CIF-SS title came in 2015.
“An inning (like the first) helps us build momentum,” Torrance coach Don Glavich said. “We try and win every inning, and that (dropped foul ball) led us to winning that inning. The girls did a really good job creating opportunities, and its the right time of the season to have things come together.”
Staked to an early 1-0 lead, Torrance starter Ryann Orange didn’t give Redondo much to work with. The freshman hurler retired the Sea Hawks (12-17) in order in the first. She allowed two hits and struck out one over four innings of work.
“I was nervous and pacing all day (leading up to the game),” Orange said. “I was figuring out how we could win this game, and after my first at bat, I just went with it.”
Her two-out, two-run home run gave Torrance a 3-0 lead, but they weren’t done just yet. Redondo starter Carly Koltko loaded the bases after an infield single and a pair of walks before Perez cleared the bases with a three-run double to make it a 6-0 game.
“Every pitcher knows that you have to play the game and you cant blame the umpire for having a tight strike zone,” Redondo coach Jennifer Desert said. “For (Koltko) to handle the pressure and keep pitching, it was a good building game for next year.”
Torrance didn’t stop there. After Koltko loaded the bases again in the third, Orange and Nikki Nash produced run-scoring sacrifice flies before Bella Cortez gave the Tartars a 9-0 lead.
Perez led the Tartars offensively, going 4 for 4 with three doubles and six RBIs, but it was a play in the bottom of the sixth that stymied Redondo’s offense.
With a pair in scoring position and no outs, Perez dove to catch Koltko’s low line drive and allowing Redondo to score just one run. Redondo added its second run an an error later that inning.
“I went for that ball like it was a tie game,” Perez said.
Torrance racked up 11 hits as a team and scored 13 runs for the second time in the playoffs. The Tartars have scored a combined 32 runs over four games heading into this week’s title game.
“We’ve had a tough draw, and it was good for us to come out and have our offense put up a good number,” Glavich said. “Ryann was outstanding in the circle, Adrian was lights out with the bat and everyone just put it together.”