CARLSBAD Not many softball teams are as hot as Rancho Buena Vista High the last few weeks.
The Longhorns had outscored teams by a 47-16 margin in the last five games.
But on Thursday, RBV, which had a four-run lead after two innings, was hanging on at the end.
Sophomore pitcher Karisa Hughen induced an infield popout with the tying run on base to preserve a 4-3 victory at defending Avocado West League champion La Costa Canyon.
The Mavericks scored two runs in the seventh inning before Hughen got the final out that keeps the Longhorns (18-5, 6-2) atop the league standings thanks to a six-game winning streak.
La Costa Canyon (11-14, 3-4) trailed right off the bat.
Fale Aviu opened the game with an infield single and Maddy Richard bunted for a hit, but when Richard stole second base the throw bounced into center and Aviu scored.
The second inning was much worse. With two outs and no runners on base, Lauren King doubled and took third when the outfielder dropped the ball near the fence.
Allison Chesterton’s popup, which should have been the final out of the inning, was dropped by reliever Kayla Silverstein in the pitching circle, allowing King to score for a 2-0 lead.
Aviu, a sophomore who committed to Oklahoma, then hit a 2-0 pitch the other way over the left-field fence for a 4-0 lead.
“I wasn’t trying to do that,” said Aviu, who was 2-for-4. “I just wanted to move the runners along. The pitcher was outside on me all day. The pitch was low and outside. I was surprised when it went over the fence.
“We got a huge break and turned it into runs.”
Hughen allowed five hits and walked one while surviving three errors to improve her record to 12-2.
Thanks, that is, to Aviu’s homer that should never have happened.
“As the leadoff hitter, my job is to spark the offense,” Aviu said. “That’s what I tried to do in this game.”
Her blast, her second homer this season, proved to be just enough of a spark.