Mary Star High Softball Wins 2018 Camino Real League Crown

A return to the top... a process that happens with hard work and belief in each other as a cohesive unit.

That perfectly describes the 2018 Mary Star High softball team.

Once the 1,154 strikeouts of Marina Vitalich graduated and was headed for George Mason University after capturing four Camino Real League championships in five seasons, along with a first-ever CIF-Southern Section finals appearance in 2013, it took three years for the Stars to regain their league championship form. A dismal 2016 would lead to a promising 2017 and now... an 18th league championship star will be placed on their spot in the school's gymnasium.

It was an early first inning scoring outburst combined with another splendid outing in the circle from sophomore right-hander Alessandra Samperio that would guide Mary Star to an 8-0 victory over Pomona Catholic on Tuesday, officially sealing up the outright Camino Real League crown for the first time since 2015.

Knowing that they needed to win only one of their final two games to wrap up the league crown, Mary Star (16-7 overall, 10-1 league) didn't want to waste any opportunities and set out to clinch when it was there for the taking.

Sophomore right fielder Sarah Leyba, the usual table setter for the Mary Star offense, led off by being hit by the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning, then advanced to third base on a fielding error at first base during a sacrifice bunt attempt from senior third baseman Miranda Marquez. Leyba would score on a RBI-single from sophomore shortstop Ashley Rico, for a 1-0 Mary Star lead that would eventually increase, as the pressure on the Pacers (12-10, 6-4) would continue to grow.

The lead would get bigger with a two-run single by sophomore catcher Sofia Amalfitano. Samperio would then follow with a double down the left field line to put runners on second and third. Junior first baseman Rose Amalfitano then walked to load the bases and force a pitching change. Freshman courtesy runner Jasmin Mayorga would then score off an illegal pitch. Freshman second baseman Arianna Bautista struck out swinging for the first out, but then the catcher's pickoff attempt at third base was errant, allowing another fresham courtesy runner, Ella Orozco to score.

Sophomore outfielder Sky Marquez would lay down a bunt, and after another confusing defensive mishap when Mary Star senior designated player Arianna Corralejo overran to third base and ran back to second, Rose Amalfitano took off for the plate. Corralejo slid safely back to second, and Amalfitano beat the throw home. Suddenly it was 6-0 Stars, and they were not done yet.

Leyba would return in the inning and drilled a 2-and-1 pitch off the right field fence to plate Corralejo for the seventh run of the first inning. Sky Marquez was thrown out at third during Leyba's RBI-double, and the inning finally ended on Miranda Marquez's shallow fly out to center field.

That seven-run onslaught would be more than enough for Samperio, who hurled a three-hit shutout with two hit batters and 13 strikeouts, giving her 205 strikeouts on the season.

Mary Star's final run of the game came in the fifth inning on Corralejo's groundout to first base, which allowed Rico to score. Rico went 2-for-3 on the day and was the only one on the Stars with more than one hit, as Mary Star only mustered five hits for the game.

One final regular season game is left for Mary Star, a home finale against Bishop Montgomery on Thursday before they start preparing for the CIF-SS Division 6 playoffs.

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