The Providence High softball team picked the right time to get hot. The Pioneers scored seven times in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull far enough in front to make things comfortable for pitcher Olyvia Rutter in an 11-3 victory over visiting Westminster in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs Friday at Olive Park.
The Pioneers will be at home once again in the second round as they will face Santa Paula, which defeated Grace Brethren 11-1.
“Our main goal was to make sure they don’t string that many hits together,’ Providence coach Manuel Travieso said of Westminster.
Instead it was the Pioneers (21-5) who strung the hits together.
Delailah Lopez hit a three-run home run over the center field fence in the third inning, scoring Bella Barton and Breanna Pelaez. Barton led off the inning with a walk and Pelaez followed with a double.
“That’s why the fence is such an important thing,” Travieso said. “It was a legitimate home run. She earned that three bagger.”
Lopez talked about the home run, which was her fourth of the year.
“I was just staying calm and making sure that I swung through the zone,” she said.
Westminster (14-13) fought back in the fifth inning.
The Lions did exactly what Travieso was worried about
With two outs, Westminster had four consecutive hits and tied the game up.
But the Pioneers did not panic, and came back on fire in the bottom half of the inning against pitcher Jocelyn Aguilar.
Barton and Pelaez began the fifth by drawing back-to-back walks. Malia Rode then singled to break the deadlock.
Gloria Galindo, Mia Allinson, Belen Benito and Valentina Clemons all had hits to continue the inning that saw 10 batters come to the plate.
Providence added a run in the sixth inning as Pelaez led off with a triple. She scored later in the inning on an error.
Travieso said he was glad his team stayed calm after Westminster tied the score.
“They (Providence) can definitely put the ball in play and they know what to do,” he said of his team.