ROLLING HILLS ESTATES - It was as exciting a doubleheader as you could get.
Tons of clutch hits, sparkling catches in the outfield, clutch defensive plays when it mattered.
San Pedro and Peninsula High softball had all of that and then some in their intersectional doubleheader at Peninsula High of Rolling Hills Estates.
In the first game, the Panthers came away with a 4-2 victory, taking advantage of three Pirate errors and rode the masterful pitching performance of junior pitcher Cassie Lajeunesse, who hurled a six-hitter with 10 strikeouts. Then in the second game, San Pedro would earn a wild 10-7 victory despite Peninsula's power-hitting trio of sophomore shortstop Brooke Vines, junior third baseman Brooke Christensen and senior catcher Camille Zuliani all clubbing home runs.
Peninsula committed five errors in the nightcap.
San Pedro (6-3 overall) would take a 2-1 lead in the first game with junior pitcher Jaclyn Rivera's bloop RBI-single that brought in junior shortstop Angelina Boskovich in the top of the fifth inning, but two defensive plays would turn the tide for the Panthers (4-4).
Later in the top of the fifth, San Pedro sophomore second baseman Johnie Cortez singled, but Peninsula sophomore center fielder Soraya Shahbazian fired a bullet to the plate to erase junior courtesy runner Michelle Corona and end the inning. Peninsula would tie it in the bottom of the fifth when Vines' single took a tricky bounce and went past San Pedro junior center fielder Doreen Corella. Freshman first baseman Maddie McHugh scored on Corella's error.
In the top of the sixth, Zuliani, who played right field in the first game, made a marvelous catch, extending her left arm to snag a high line drive smash from San Pedro sophomore C/OF Alexa Ponce that probably would have been a home run.
The Panthers would pull away in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back doubles by Christensen and Shahbazian, whose double drove Christensen in for a 3-2 advantage. Shahbazian would be rewarded by scoring on Lajeunesse's one-out RBI-single. Shahbazian would finish 2-for-3 in the game, while Christensen had two RBIs, the first coming off her sacrifice fly in the first for a 1-0 Peninsula edge.
Rivera, despite taking the loss in the circle, went 3-for-4 with an RBI, while junior first baseman Armida Roman tied the game for San Pedro in the fourth inning with a bases-loaded walk.
In Game 2, Vines hit a game-opening leadoff homer off San Pedro junior pitcher Jocelyn Kondash, which would stake Peninsula to a 2-0 lead, then the Pirates would take a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the second off of Kondash's 2-RBI single, a bases-loaded walk from senior first baseman Michelle Duarte, and Corella's fielder's choice. Zuliani belted a grand slam over the left field fence to put Peninsula back up 6-5 in the top of the third inning.
That would be Peninsula's last lead of the afternoon.
San Pedro would storm back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to go up 7-6 off a trio of RBI-singles from Boskovich, Cortez and sophomore OF/INF/P Taylor Richter, who came into the game pitching three solid innings for the save in relief Kondash, who still improved her pitching record to 3-0. Kondash would blast an RBI-double off the left field fence in the bottom of the fifth inning to extend San Pedro's lead to 9-6.
Richter went 4-for-4 at the plate with an RBI after struggling mightily against Lajeunesse in the first game, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Kondash went 2-for-4 with a double and 4 RBIs as well in the second game, while Cortez played sharp defensively in both games, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored in the second game.
San Pedro sophomore left fielder Cayla Ezelle turned in the best defensive play of the day for the Pirates in the second game by robbing Peninsula senior catcher Savanna Norcio of a potential double with a spectacular snow-cone running catch during the top of the sixth inning that came right before Christensen's booming solo home run which cut the Pirates' lead to 9-7.
Cortez would add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth by scoring off a wild pitch where Zuliani was right there for the tag, but dropped the ball at the last instant.
Christensen went 3-for-4 with the home run in the second game, and Vines went 2-for-5.
Next up for San Pedro is the third place game of the Downey Tournament on Wednesday against Calvary Chapel of Downey at Downey High School.