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holtville knocks off christian 3-1

March 13, 2002|By RICHARD MYERS

Sports Editor

HOLTVILLE — First Shelli Strahm did it with the bat. Then she did it with her glove.

Strahm went three-for-three and made two last-inning stops Tuesday as Holtville High's softball team edged visiting Christian High of El Cajon 3-1.

"We're happy," Vikings coach David Rodgers said.

The Christian Patriots are a powerhouse in the CIF San Diego Section, having won the Division IV two years ago and were runners-up last year.

"It was a big win," Rodgers said.

Christian jumped to a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Holtville rallied for two runs in the fifth and added another in the sixth before holding off a Patriot rally in the seventh.


Abril Moctezuma started the Vikings' rally in the fifth by reaching first base on a passed ball after the Christian catcher couldn't handle the pitch on Moctezuma's swinging third strike.

Marisela Valenzuela followed by reaching first on an infield base hit when she beat the throw from the shortstop. Strahm then bunted down the first-base line, avoiding the tag to load the bases.

One out later Jessica Young singled to right field to score Moctezuma and tie the game. A second out later Claudia Lopez singled to right to break the stalemate.

Holtville added an insurance run in the sixth when Moctezuma walked, Strahm doubled and Lauren Huyler singled up the middle to score Moctezuma.

"I knew she was going to throw me a strike on the first pitch," Strahm said of Patriot hurler Rene Henson. "I was ready for it."

Strahm also was ready a few moments later in the field, when Christian looked to tie or take the lead in the top of the seventh.

Holly Littlepage led off with a bloop single down the left field line. One out later Natalie Benden lofted a pop-up behind the second base bag.

Strahm leaped in the air and made a cross-body catch, reaching to her left with her gloved right hand.

"It's a little weird being a left-hander," Strahm said., conceding there are not a lot of southpaw shortstops.

Sarah Moses kept Christian's hopes alive when she looped a base hit up the middle, shifting Littlepage to third.

Strahm, though, came up with the game-ending out. Kelli Murray was looking for her third hit of the game when she hammered a shot back up the middle.

Just when it looked like it was going to get through Strahm ran it down and stepped on second base to force out Moses.

"I just had the right angle to the ball," a modest Strahm said afterward.

"She's being doing that all year for us," Rodgers said of Strahm.

Huyler went the distance for Holtville, scattering six hits. She struck out three and walked one.

"We played good defense and got some timely hitting," Rodgers observed.

Holtville (6-2) opens Imperial Valley League play at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday at Imperial.

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