REDONDO BEACH - Mary Star High will always have that stigma about them in sports because of the 'small school' syndrome that they can't compete with schools with larger enrollments. No matter how hard the Stars try, even when they do come out on top, that stigma seemingly will never go away.
So whenever the Stars do come away victorious against the 'bigger schools', it's makes the moment even more special.
On Friday, Mary Star softball came into their nonleague clash against Redondo Union, the No.3 ranked team in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 poll, as the proverbial underdog, and they came away with a gratifying 3-0 victory over the host Seahawks for their tenth consecutive victory. The Stars (14-4 overall) have not lost since a 3-1 defeat at Palos Verdes on March 5 in a game where junior ace pitcher Alessandra Samperio only allowed one hit.
Against Redondo (6-12), Samperio only allowed two hits the entire game, and struck out eight, and the defense, even though with two errors, was tough enough to not allow a Seahawk base-runner reach past first base.
Samperio appeared to give up a hit on the first pitch she thrown in the bottom of the first inning, but an incredible play from junior right fielder Sarah Leyba throwing the runner out at first base saved the Stars from a possible big inning. The next batter singled but Samperio retired the next two batters with a strikeout and a ground ball right back to her.
Mary Star would get on the board first in the top of the second inning, as drawn walks by Samperio and then with one out, sophomore left fielder Lexi Buscemi, put two on base for sophomore third baseman and St. Joseph of Lakewood transfer Julia Magrini, who somehow hits a pop up just past the diving second baseman in shallow right field, allowing junior courtesy runner Sky Marquez to score for a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, the Stars' scrappy nature would pay off for a second run, and once again it would be Magrini who would be the one to get it started by leading off the top of the fifth with a walk.
A great sacrifice bunt from sophomore designated player Jasmin Mayorga would advance Magrini a base, then Magrini took third on a high pop up that turned into a tricky ground ball towards second base by senior first baseman Rose Amalfitano, who used her Camino Real League MVP soccer running instincts to beat it out for an infield single. On the next pitch, Leyba's ground ball to shortstop would drive home Magrini.
The Stars would tack on one more precious run in the seventh inning when Samperio, who stunned many by laying down a perfect sacrifice bunt with two strikes on her in the fourth inning, would literally take one for the team being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in Amalfitano for that precious third run.
In all it was a pitcher's duel between Samperio and Redondo's Carly Koltko, who struck out nine while surrendering just five hits, fooling the Stars often with a mix of both a riseball and a devastating changeup, but the Stars did well enough to cap off a perfect week with four victories, including three Camino Real League victories over St. Genevieve, Bishop Montgomery and Pomona Catholic to strengthen their grip on chances to repeat as league champion.
Magrini finished 2-for-2 with the RBI and a run scored, while the other three hits was a booming double from junior shortstop Ashley Rico, and singles from both Rose and her sister, junior catcher Sofia Amalfitano.
Mary Star, currently a rising team in CIF-SS Division 4, next faces Downey Calvary Chapel at home Monday in a rescheduled Savanna Showcase game.