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Patrick Henry enjoys farewell gift

05/26/2016, 8:18pm PDT
By Terry Monahan

Freshman delivers game-winning hit before heading to Los Angeles for next season


Patrick Henry teammates mob Josie Gonzalez after her game-winning hit.

— In her next-to-last softball game at Patrick Henry High, Josie Gonzalez couldn’t have written a better script.

The freshman, who is moving to Los Angeles for the 2016-17 school year, hit a high-chopper over the third baseman’s head to drive in the winning run for a 10-9 victory over Carlsbad in the San Diego Section Division I semifinals at the Poway Sportsplex on Thursday.

“I wanted it to be the perfect pitch in my sweet spot,” Gonzalez said. “And it was.

“I didn’t even think I’d get that last at-bat. The weight of everything was on my shoulders. I had to tell myself to keep breathing.

“I didn’t want to be the last out. I just concentrated.”

The top-seeded Patriots (25-8) advance to today’s section finals at 7:30 p.m. at UC San Diego against Rancho Buena Vista.

Carlsbad took a 9-8 lead in the top of the seventh inning on Sam Lauro’s bases-loaded bunt single.

But the Patriots, who dropped a 6-5 decision to No. 3 Carlsbad in the regular-season opener, got a leadoff double from Danielle Romero and a single by Andrea Wright, who drove in four runs in the game that included a two-run homer, to open the seventh inning.

An error set the stage for Gonzalez’s good-bye heroics.

“Running down to first on that last hit, I almost started crying,” said Gonzalez, who was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. “I tried to hold back the tears.

“My whole family was here except my dad, who is in L.A. with his new job. I thought the way this game was going it would end on a homer.

“I never thought my at-bat would be ending it.”

Carlsbad’s 16-hit attack was led by Dionne Valdez-Macias, who was 4-for-4 — all singles to left — with an RBI.

Henry’s last section title was in 1993, but coach Steve Miner’s last title came in 1986 with Madison.

“There was a lot of confidence in the dugout that last inning,” Miner said. “They had a chance in the top of the inning with the bases loaded. We were fortunate to let in only one run.

“This means we have a chance to win another CIF. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Except that Gonzalez won’t be here next season.

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