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Jags in fast lane after two-run homer in seventh

05/22/2014, 8:42pm PDT
By Terry Monahan, Special to the U-T

Freshman's big blow keeps Valley Center in the winner's bracket

— Through the first four innings, Valley Center and Escondido had runners in scoring position almost every frame.

Over the final three innings, however, there was just one base hit.

It was a big one.

Valley Center freshman Moyla Devers’ two-run home run in the top of the seventh Thursday turned what looked like a loss in the first round of the San Diego Section Division II softball playoffs into a 3-2 victory over Escondido.

Devers’ third homer this season drove in pinch-runner Alicia Zappia, who ran for winning relief pitcher Nia Hutton after she opened the inning with a walk.

“I was just trying to get a hit,” Devers said. “It was right down the middle.

“I wasn’t sure it was going out. I thought it was just a pop fly. I was surprised I hit it over.

“The last couple of times the pitches were outside. The last one was a little up.”

Devers has been in a slump that dropped her from the third slot in the batting order to No. 8.

Hutton, now 7-2, pitched four hitless innings — the lone base runner came on an error — to send the No. 5-seeded Jaguars (17-6) into Saturday’s second round against No. 9 San Pasqual (14-12), a 5-1 upset winner over top-seeded Eastlake. No. 4 Escondido (15-14) will face the host Titans (16-9) in an elimination game Saturday.

For most of the game it looked as if the Cougars would stay in the winner’s bracket behind the pitching of senior Summer Evans, who fell to 12-6 despite allowing just six hits and one walk.

Evans made it tougher on the Jags by throwing first-pitch strikes to 23 of the 28 batters she faced.

“Games like this make you old,” Valley Center coach Bill Dunckel said. “I misjudged the homer. I thought our runner had to tag up.

“I knew we had a shot because we have proven power throughout the lineup.

“I told (Devers) to make good contact. She’s so explosive.”

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