Call it lucky number seven for Christian High head coach George Gentry.
On his seventh trip to the San Diego Section softball finals as a head coach or assistant for the Patriots, Saturday’s 5-0 blanking of La Jolla in the Division IV championship game at UC San Diego was the first time Gentry got to lift the diamond-shaped trophy.
“I’m super stoked,” said Gentry, denied as an assistant in 2003, 2005 and 2007 and as head coach in 2009, 2010 and 2012. “Being here as runner-up so many times and not champions, that was frustrating. I’m so proud of these girls and what they’ve accomplished.”
The top-seeded Patriots (14-14) manufactured all the runs they would need while sophomore Ashley Carter shut down the No. 3 Vikings (16-13) on just seven singles.
In the bottom of the fourth, Christian’s Courtney Skjerve reached on a one-out bunt single and Silent Rain Espinoza reached on an error. Carter cleared the bases with a two-run single to center.
“I got to the plate and said to myself this was on me,” said Carter. “After I hit it, I thought, here we go, this is my game.”
Mallory Steele, Anna Sherburne and Skjerve would add RBIs over Christian’s final three at-bats.
Only two Vikings reached third base.
“I really wanted to do it for Coach and assistant coach Ricky Gentry,” Espinoza said of her head coach and his daughter. “She lost in the finals her senior year.”