Lakewood shook off a slow start to win its CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoff opener 10-3 over visiting Kennedy on Thursday. The Lancers (26-3) will host South Torrance on Tuesday in the second round.
A pair of Lakewood defensive miscues in the first inning gave Kennedy a 2-0 lead until the Lancers exploded for six runs in the fourth inning.
“We start a little slow occasionally, so I was nervous all the way till the last out,” Lakewood coach Andy Miramontes said. “I have a lot of confidence in these girls, but it’s just one of those things. The first playoff game is always tough. That Kennedy team is no joke, and their record doesn’t show how good they are. They have some dangerous hitters.”
Kennedy’s Miranda Gallardo led off the game with a triple through a gap between the poorly positioned Lakewood outfielders. Freshman Claire Timm followed that with a squeeze bunt that scored Gallardo. Timm took second on the throw home, and when the throw to second went into the outfield, she came around to score on her own bunt for a 2-0 lead.
Lakewood didn’t get a hit off of Kennedy starting pitcher Angelica Okabe until the third inning, but a walk to junior McKenzie Hutchinson got the Lancers going in the fourth. Senior Alyssa Torres moved her to third with a one-out single, and junior Destinie Beck loaded the bases with another walk. Senior right fielder Clarissa Salazar brought all of them home with a 3-run triple to left center field that seemed to open the flood gates for the home team.
“I was really anxious when we were behind so early in the game, but I had full confidence when I went up to bat,” Salazar said. “I was ready for that moment.”
Senior Taylor Pack drove in Salazar with a two-out single, and then after a walk to junior Cassie Camou, sophomore Kendall Lundberg brought both of them home with a bases clearing triple of her own.
Hutchinson and junior Emilie Martin had a two-run single and a two-run triple, respectively, in the sixth inning.
Meanwhile, Lakewood starting pitcher Cassie Perryman maintained her composure after the rocky start behind her. The junior ended up allowing only three hits in five innings pitched with four strikeouts and a walk.
“This is probably one of her better outings, especially in the playoffs,” Miramontes said. “She was mentally tough today, and she was in command.”
“I just had to take a deep breath knowing that my defense could come back behind me,” Perryman said. “We all have each others backs. I was more mentally into the game. I hope that continues.”
Lakewood junior Kaiya Yonamine pitched the final two innings to secure the victory.