Just 19 days ago, Mary Star High softball posted a seismic-style victory over powerhouse St. Anthony of Long Beach, a 5-2 upset win on the road that announced to the rest of the Camino Real League, that the Stars didn't come to mess around in 2018.
So what could the Stars possibly do for an encore?
On Tuesday, a big third inning scoring surge combined with another solid outing in the circle from sensational sophomore Ale Samperio would propel host Mary Star to a convincing 9-0 victory over the Saints, taking over sole possession of first place in league with their sudden high octane performance. Samperio was effective in the circle with a two-hit shutout, ten strikeouts and walking one for the Stars (9-6 overall, 4-1 league)
St. Anthony (4-11, 2-2), last year's CIF-Southern Section Division 6 champion, was missing key Division 1 verbal commits to injury but still boasted a dangerous lineup featuring sophomores Tiare Jennings (Oklahoma verbal commit), Thessa Malau'ulu (UCLA verbal commit) and Jaelene Kapu and were starting to shake off a slow start.
Still, Samperio proved to be too much on this day, as Jennings, Malau'ulu and Kapu all went a combined 0-for-8 in this one.
After two scoreless innings, Mary Star's offense would erupt in the bottom of the third inning and it all started on the first pitch from St. Anthony sophomore Brooke Townsend.
Sophomore shortstop and leadoff hitter Sarah Leyba singles to right, then advanced a base on senior third baseman Miranda Marquez's groundout to Jennings at shortstop, who made three sparkling plays defensively. Sophomore designated player Ashley Rico, who only hit in the lineup due to a tight bicep, moved Leyba to third with another groundout towards Jennings.
With those two 'snowflake' of groundouts came the avalanche of runs that was to come.
Freshman right fielder Ella Orozco singles to center field just past second base to score Leyba. On this day, even that one run would have been enough, but Mary Star wasn't satisfied, much less finished.
Samperio drew a walk, then a bloop single from sophomore catcher Sofia Amalfitano drove home Orozco. A throwing error on junior first baseman Rose Amalfitano's hard ground ball to third base drove in freshman courtesy runner Jasmin Mayorga and senior pinch runner Arianna Corralejo and suddenly, it was 4-0 Stars. Amalfitano would then score a fifth run off senior center fielder Jillian Duran's line drive single that Jennings knocked down before a pop out from freshman Lexi Buscemi finally ended the inning.
Mary Star scored two runs in the fourth off a fielding error in shallow right field with two outs that plated Rico, followed by Samperio's booming double to center field that just missed going over the fence, allowing Orozco to score. Then in the bottom of the sixth, the Stars tacked on two more as Leyba's leadoff triple led to her scoring off a passed ball, and Rico scored on Samperio's two-out single.
In the top of the seventh, the Saints got a leadoff single from freshman Maleah Morales, who advanced to third with one out, but Samperio struck out sophomore Kristiana Palacios and junior Joelle Deleon looking to end the game.
In all, the Stars pounded out ten hits, led by Samperio going 2-for-3 with a double and 2 RBIs, and Leyba also going 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored. Orozco and Rico also scored twice for the Stars, who are now 2-0 against the Saints after losing all three meetings last season. The two will meet again on April 24 at Pan American Park in Long Beach where the Camino Real League crown could be on the line.
Until then, Mary Star will next play at Whittier Christian of La Habra on Wednesday in a nonleague game.