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Timely pick-me-up for Patrick Henry

04/09/2014, 9:11pm PDT
By Terry Monahan, Special to the U-T

Freshman pitcher leads Patriots past Otay Ranch to snap two-game losing streak

Patrick Henry freshman pitcher MJ James improved her record to 7-1 this season for the Patriots, who are ranked No. 6 in the San Diego Section.

With Patrick Henry needing a win to get back on track, freshman pitcher MJ James got the starting assignment.

And the sting from two straight losses is now gone.

The 6-footer allowed five hits and was never seriously threatened as the No. 6-ranked Patriots posted a 3-0 nonleague softball victory over visiting Otay Ranch on Wednesday afternoon.

Patrick Henry (13-4) rebounded from a 5-1 loss to Rancho Buena Vista on Saturday and a disappointing 3-2 setback to West Hills on Tuesday.

“It was nice to come back and do better,” said James, who struck out three and walked none in improving her record to 7-1. “We were so frustrated with ourselves after the West Hills game.

“We had to get our motivation back.”

James did her part, allowing just one runner to reach scoring position for the Mustangs (12-6).

An error allowed Otay Ranch to put a runner at third base in the first inning, but James recorded a strikeout to end the threat.

“We played them earlier and run-ruled them, so we knew what they like to do,” James said. “They have some good hitters, so I just tried to get ahead of them and keep them off balance.”

Patrick Henry scored once in the third inning with Sierra Altmeyer’s single chasing home the run.

Otay Ranch made an error in the fourth inning when a botched squeeze play resulted in the throw going into left field for one run. Cassie Van Til’s single scored the final run that inning.

James was also 2-for-3 at the plate while Van Til was 2-for-2 to lead the Patriots’ nine-hit attack.

“I am happy with the way we played today,” Henry coach Don Shaffer said. “When we pitch well, when we field well and when we don’t hit a lot of popups, we can play with anyone.

“I wasn’t happy with the way we played the last two games, but this game is kind of what we expect from MJ every time out.

“She was very good, we swung the bats well and we made plays behind her.”

Now the Patriots can look forward once again to the remainder of the season.

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