St. Anthony softball didn’t score early, but scored often in its 12-2 victory over El Toro in the wild card round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs on Tuesday at Pan American Park. The Saints (16-7) will travel to face Godinez in the first round on Thursday.
“I think we’re playing up to our potential right now,” St. Anthony coach Brian McCalip said. “But it’s one game at a time. Because of injuries we had five freshman start today, and this experience is just going to help them down the road.”
Freshman Rose Cano got her first high school playoff start, and shook some early nerves to pitch four solid innings. Once she found her rhythm after giving up a run in the first inning, Cano retired five of the last seven batters she faced via strikeout.
“I was very nervous,” Cano said. “I started to feel good in the second inning. Before the inning a lady bug landed on me, so I knew it was going to be good.”
“She’s been on fire all year,” McCalip said. “Early on she was going 2-3 innings, but now she can go longer. As long as she’s warm, she’s good.”
Cano was also one of four Saints to drive in runs in the five-run third inning that all but decided the game. Cano finished with an RBI double, a single and two runs scored. Fellow freshman Sammie Dodge went 3-for-4 with a triple, three RBIs and three runs scored. Senior Fayth McQueary chipped in a pair of RBIs and junior Jaelene Kapu scored three times.
“It took us two innings just to get adjusted to slower pitching,” McCalip said. “We always tell the girls to just make the adjustments, play good defense and the rest will take care of itself.”
As McCalip planned, junior Brooke Townsend pitched the final two innings while only giving up one run.