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Without ‘best stuff,’ Torrey ace lights out

03/29/2013, 10:08pm PDT
By Terry Monahan

Falcons senior doesn't allow a batter to reach third in blanking La Costa Canyon.

Torrey Pines senior Rachel Nasland, who has signed with Notre Dame, improved to 6-1 with a 0.21 ERA after shutting out top-ranked La Costa Canyon.

— Considering both teams were highly ranked, it was a bit shocking that both were coming off recent three-game losing streaks.

For Torrey Pines High, the defending San Diego Section Division I champion, it marked the first three-game losing skid in more than six years.

“We hit rock bottom with that third straight loss (2-1 to Escondido on a tiebreaker in the eighth inning),” Torrey Pines coach Jon Moore said. “And I told the girls in a meeting that this was going to continue unless they wanted it to get better.”

They did, and it appears the Falcons have turned the corner.

On Friday, No. 4-ranked Torrey Pines used the one-hit pitching of senior Rachel Nasland and a seven-hit attack to post a 4-0 victory over rival La Costa Canyon in the Falcon Fiesta.

The win, the Falcons’ fourth consecutive victory since hitting bottom, leaves Torrey Pines (8-4-1) with a 3-0 record in the tournament.

With Nasland, who signed with Notre Dame, the Falcons have a steady remedy for a team with a .241 batting average.

She allowed a one-out, first-inning single to freshman Megan Ruiz and from there top-ranked La Costa Canyon (7-5) reached on the lone Falcons error in the second inning and a seventh-inning walk.

In between, Nasland retired 13 straight batters.

“I did well with what I had,” said Nasland, who raised her record to 6-1 and lowered ERA to 0.21. “Sometimes, a pitcher has to get by without their best stuff.”

Nasland may have been a bit off, but the offense was able to manufacture more than enough runs for her.

Emily Wolking squeezed in the first run in the third inning and catcher Shelbianne Evans singled in a second run in that same inning.

That’s usually more than enough for Nasland.

“We still haven’t found our groove yet,” Nasland said. “Let me tell you, rock bottom looks really ugly. It’s not pretty.

“After our meeting, we couldn’t wait to start winning games again.”

The Falcons, who were led by Emma Wong’s 3-for-4 outing at the plate, added two unearned runs in the fifth inning courtesy of two Mavericks errors.

“I had a little more leeway with four runs to work with,” said Nasland. “Four runs is a big gift for me.”

Said Moore: “All we have to do is score enough runs for who I think is the best pitcher around. She doesn’t have her best stuff and still gets a shutout.”

Nasland was still effective enough to allow just three Mavericks to reach second base, and none of them reached third base.

She threw a first-pitch strike to 15 of the 24 batters she faced during her so-so performance.

“It’s normally so hard to play the rival,” LCC coach Mary Jo Griswold said. “You have to have kids who can stay focused.

“It’s a shame to face a pitcher like Nasland on a day when she’s a little off and we couldn’t take advantage.

“Hopefully, we’ll be a good team by the time (Avocado West League) rolls around.”

By then, the Mavs won’t have to face Nasland again.

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