Lauren Lipe jumps into the arms of Makayla Martin (center) as Kylee Brown joins in the celebration for Scripps Ranch.
Though she may have been the best pitcher in the county coming into the season, Scripps Ranch’s Makayla Martin wasn’t even mentioned among the preseason “Players to Watch.”
They watched her Saturday — outdueling Carlsbad’s Hannah Bandimere to lead the second-seeded Falcons to a 2-1 victory in the section Division I championship game at UC San Diego.
The explanation for the motivating omission was easy. Martin didn’t play in her junior year because of a debilitating back injury.
“This was my last high school game, and we win CIF. It doesn’t get much better than this,” said Martin, who will pitch for Auburn University next year.
Martin held the defending Open Division champion and top-seeded Lancers (18-11) to just five hits while striking out 11.
But she had to match the Utah Valley University-bound Bandimere, who was perfect through the first 13 batters she faced.
All the offense came in the sixth inning. The Lancers broke the scoreless tie in the top half of the inning when Amanda Domingo was hit by a pitch and came around to score an unearned run on a passed ball.
The Falcons (23-10-1) finally nicked Bandimere in the bottom of the inning. Alison Petty got Scripps Ranch’s first hit of the game with a leadoff single. Lindsey Campbell came in to run for Petty and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Shawn Blalock.
Third baseman Lauren Lipe drove in Campbell with a single to left field. Lipe scored the game winner when Martin’s line drive was too much for Carlsbad first baseman Madison Hays to handle.
“With (Martin’s) pitching, I knew it was just a matter of time until we broke through,” Falcons coach John Kelly said after his team captured its fourth section title and first since 1999.