Riverside Poly softball team beats Heritage to secure Ivy League title – Press Enterprise

RIVERSIDE — Bri Garcia and Sophia Parada made sure their senior game was a memorable one for Riverside Poly.

Garcia shook off a tough first inning and shut down Heritage’s offense in the final six innings of Monday afternoon’s Ivy League softball game. Parada, the other senior on Poly’s roster, helped spark the offense, driving in two runs as the Bears rallied to win 4-3 and clinch the league championship.

“I was thinking about my teammates and how hard we have worked. We didn’t want to lose this game,” said Garcia, who threw four-hit ball and struck out eight. “I knew they would support me, so I had to go out there and do my job. I had to stay focused and use all my energy to make sure we stayed in the game.”

That wasn’t easy to do after Heritage (19-4, 5-2 in the league) took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Patriots scored the first run of the game on an error. Adriana Abrantes doubled the lead with a run-scoring triple down the right-field line, and Kaylee Fraund followed with an RBI single.

“That’s not the way you want to start, but we knew we had seven chances to get those runs back,” Poly coach Robert Sakaguchi said. “I told them not to push and just take it out one race at a time.”

Poly (20-5, 6-1) recovered two runs in the bottom of the third inning. Corina James started the rally with a leadoff double and then scored with a one-out Stoppage single.

Emiliee Castillo singled to left field to home stop and cut the deficit to one run.

The Bears had a chance to tie or take the lead, but stranded a combined five runners on base in the fourth and fifth innings.

“We had runners in every inning, but we couldn’t seem to get enough clutch hits,” Sakaguchi said.

That wasn’t a problem for the Bears in the sixth inning. James again got things going with a leadoff double, and Maddy Cortez dropped a bunt single that advanced James to third base. After a strikeout, Parada hit a sacrifice fly to left field to drive home James and level the score.

“We’ve been in situations like this before,” Parada said. “Our pitcher is working hard and we want to give her runs. It takes the whole team to do that. Everybody has to be in the right mindset to do it.”

Castillo took control once again, when he singled off Cortez for the deciding run with two outs.

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