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Valhalla in running after walk-off walk

05/02/2013, 9:15pm PDT
By Greg Ball, Special to the U-T

Norsemen win fifth straight, stay alive in Grossmont Hills League race.

— Many had written off Valhalla High’s softball team when the Norsemen lost their first three Grossmont Hills League games. It wouldn’t have been a stretch to say they had dug themselves too deep a hole too early.

After a 5-4 walk-off victory in 12 innings Thursday over West Hills, Valhalla has breathed new life into its season.

The Norsemen (16-11, 5-3 league) have won five straight, and with two regular-season games to play they’re mathematically still alive in a race for the league title that also includes West Hills (17-10, 7-1) and Steele Canyon (16-11, 5-3).

While the Wolf Pack and Cougars play each other Tuesday, Valhalla’s two games next week are against the league’s two worst teams. Plus, the Norsemen are riding a wave of momentum after Thursday’s character-building victory over a West Hills team that hadn’t lost a league game, was on a 10-game winning streak and has made a habit of beating teams handily.

“Our goal today was to make sure nobody in league (was undefeated),” Valhalla coach Mark Obney said. “It was a great win.”

Miranda Thomas drew a four-pitch walk to force in the winning run after the Norsemen loaded the bases with no outs in the 12th. The big blow was Emily Ordonez’s double to the right-center-field fence, which came on an 0-2 count. She also had a two-run, two-out double during Valhalla’s three-run fourth inning.

Valhalla’s cleanup hitter and first baseman made a big impact when her team needed her most.

“I kind of just took (the 12th-inning situation) out of mind and just swung,” Ordonez said.

“It feels so good to break their winning streak and give ourselves a chance to win the league now.”

After getting strong pitching performances Thursday from Thomas, Kirsten Gallo and Ashley Madara while also turning three double plays and getting clutch hits, Obney feels good heading toward the postseason.

“We played a little lackluster a little early this season,” he said. “This team has been underrated the last couple years.”

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