By Ben Enos
After being dealt its first loss of the season earlier Thursday, the main question surrounding the Deer Valley High School softball team was how the Wolverines would respond in their second game at the Livermore Stampede.
Thanks in large part to junior pitcher Emily Allard, the Wolverines bounced back just fine.
Allard, who earlier this week gave an oral commitment to play softball at Northwestern in 2010, tossed a shutout and drove in three runs with a triple to help Deer Valley rebound with a 3-0 pool-play win over Monte Vista at Robertson Park.
Allard, who was also in the circle when Deer Valley (6-1) lost to Notre Dame-Belmont 3-0, gave a commanding performance against the Mustangs (3-4). Relying primarily on her fastball, she was able to strike out five while allowing just four hits.
"We just didn't hit the ball in the first game and that was pretty much our only problem," Allard said. "We really wanted (to win) this game to prove not only to ourselves but to other people that we're here to play."
Allard also provided the big blow on offense for Deer Valley with a bases-loaded opposite-field triple in the second inning. Jessica Pader, Therese Gascon-Minton and Marissa Ibarra all scored when Allard sent a line drive over the left fielder's head. Allard was thrown out trying to stretch it into a home run.
Had it not been for Allard's triple, Monte Vista pitcher Kylie Day would have been the story, as the sophomore struck out nine in the loss.
Kellee Venturi led the Mustangs offensively, going 2-for-3.
Granada 2, College Park 1: Kelly Head's two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the fifth gave the Matadors (8-1) all the offense they would need to beat the Falcons (5-1) in a pool-play game.
It seemed like a matter of time before Granada would break through after the Matadors left five runners on base in the first four innings.
Finally, it was Head who came through. A two-out walk to Rachel Miller and a double by Sarah Ragusa brought Head to the plate looking to drive in the first runs of the game.
After College Park pitcher Stephani Fairclough managed to get ahead of Head 1-2, the senior cleanup hitter got the best of the Falcons ace, driving the next pitch into the left-center-field gap to score Miller and Ragusa.
Head's heroics helped the Matadors bounce back after Archbishop Mitty-San Jose dealt them their first loss of the season earlier in the day, 6-0.
"We were really hungry to get a win back so that we would go into tomorrow strong," Head said. "(Fairclough) was throwing good, but she just left one in there."
Fairclough struggled at times to close out innings, allowing a runner to reach with two outs in each of the last four innings. That statistic aside though, she was brilliant in stretches, striking out nine in a complete-game effort.
Granada pitcher Kendall Beerman was equally tough, striking out six and walking none in a complete game of her own. College Park got on the scoreboard in the seventh when Olivia Kennealy lined a triple to right-center field, and Danielle Ballard grounded out to score her.
"We just weren't swinging the bats the way we needed to, and they got a couple of hits when they needed to," College Park coach Reno LaSala said. "Both pitchers pitched extremely well."
-- Ben Enos
Foothill 1, Castro Valley 0: Keri Ball struck out 10 and allowed just two hits to lead the Falcons (5-3) to a win over the Trojans (4-3) in a pool-play game.
Kristy Ortiz was the hero of the day, singling in the lone run in the sixth inning. Foothill teammate Kelly Sweeney went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple.
Felicia Viveiros had two triples for Castro Valley.
Livermore 7, Alameda 3: The Cowboys (6-2) scored five runs in the second inning and cruised to a win over the Hornets (4-3) in a pool-play game.
Brittany Sabatini was the offensive star for Livermore, going 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and three runs. Katie Keller went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run.
Archbishop Mitty-San Jose 6, Granada 0: Keilani Ricketts struck out 15 to lead the Monarchs (4-1-1) to a pool-play win over the Matadors.