By Vincent Nguyen
With the postseason on the line in Tuesday’s wild-card softball game between the Monrovia Wildcats and the El Monte Lions, Monrovia sophomore pitcher Britney Lopez (#24) rose to the occasion and produced six shutout innings to lead the Wildcats to a 4-1 victory over the Lions.
Both teams were held at a stalemate until the second inning when the Wildcats outfielder Alyssa Salva (#10) struck one low toward centerfield to bring home shortstop Brooke Mann (#13). Again, both pitchers threw a 1-2-3 inning in the third, before centerfielder Hunter Alvarez (#8) earned the Wildcats another run in the fourth thanks to a single from Samantha Diaz (#23).
The Lions didn’t look all too threatening until the fifth inning, where El Monte finally earned runners on base thanks to two consecutive walks. Until then, Lopez had not allowed a single hit.
Coach Guzman was confident his pitcher would get out of a high-pressured situation she was in at the top of the fifth after giving up two consecutive walks. He said she is accustomed of breaking out of intense circumstances, earning her the nickname “Poker Face” from her teammates.
Two fly balls and a strikeout closed out the inning, continuing the Monrovia pitcher’s clutch performance for the afternoon. Lopez earned double-digit strikeouts and didn’t allow a single hit or single run, a streak that would eventually end at the top of the seventh when El Monte’s Naomi Ramirez (#11) singled out toward centerfield. Ramirez would also earn the Lions’ only run of the game with the help of Miranda Hernandez’s (#3) single toward right field.
Before that, a pair of runs and a handful of singles in the sixth brought the Wildcats’ tally to four, thanks to scorers Vicky Gutierrez (#2) and Shaniah Bland (#42) who helped the Wildcats closed out the game.
Monrovia will face La Quinta High School at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday in the first round of the 2015 CIF Southern Section Softball Playoffs.