Admittedly nervous to start the day, Mater Dei Catholic senior Maritza Lopez-Portillo found the perfect way to calm down in the second inning of the San Diego Section Division IV softball championship game.
Lopez-Portillo hit a grand slam to help propel the Crusaders past Madison 7-3 in a finals rematch for their third straight championship at UC San Diego on Saturday.
“I just told myself to relax (at the plate),” said Lopez-Portillo, a team captain, whose 11th homer of the season staked Mater Dei to a 6-0 lead as part of a five-run rally. “Then we got the momentum, and I was really happy at the end.”
Lopez-Portillo, who later added an RBI double, also secured the final two outs pitching in relief of freshman starter Alexis Morales.
Junior Skania Lemus added three hits and scored twice for the second-seeded Crusaders (22-8), who mounted a 10-hit attack in recording their second playoff triumph over No. 1 Madison (27-7).
“We always work hard and we never let up,” said junior captain Kimberly Tamayo, who went 2-for-2 with a walk. “There’s never an easy day for us.”