After finishing up non-league play with three straight losses at the spring break Jamboree Tournament in Las Vegas, the El Camino softball team has started their West Valley League season strong, winning two of their first three games, and only giving up four runs in that span. The team won their first game 9-0 on the road against Birmingham before falling 1-0 in their home opener to Chatsworth, and then coming back to win at home against Cleveland 4-3.
Both the Cleveland and Chatsworth matchups were close games, with the go-ahead and game-winning runs coming in the late innings.
Against the Cavaliers, El Camino scored first, plating two in the second to jump out to an early lead. After a back-and-forth stretch in the middle innings, Cleveland had a two-run inning of their own to tie the score at 3-3 before El Camino tacked on what would be the game winning run in the bottom of the sixth. With the win, El Camino and Cleveland are tied for second place in the West Valley League at 2-1, with Chatsworth sitting atop the league with a 2-0 record.
Against Chatsworth, the Conquistadors and Chancellors were locked into a pitchers duel for most of the afternoon, with the score staying tied at 0 until the fifth inning, when Chatsworth senior Ruby Salzman lifted a solo home run just over the left field fence to give Chatsworth the edge.
For El Camino, senior Ashley Murphy pitched well, tossing a complete game with six strikeouts in her home debut. Murphy committed to Hawaii last semester. Although Chatsworth only managed to score on Salzman’s home run, they had multiple base runners on throughout much of the game, but Murphy was able to hang on and battle through a strong Chatsworth lineup.
The Conquistadors had similar troubles at the plate, with Granada Hills transfer, Ava Justman, striking out six in her complete game shutout.
Since winning the CIF Los Angeles City Section Division I title in 2016 as the number one seed, El Camino has had trouble in league play, finishing 5-5 in league play last season and 14-14 overall. Last season’s girls were lead by senior standout Lucy Yang, who now plays for University of Pennsylvania as a freshman. The team graduated three seniors last season and has six more graduating at the end of this season.
The team, led by their three college-signees, will look to take full control of the West Valley League, as they are going on the road to face the Granada Hills Highlanders on April 11.