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LA North and LA South: Oaks Christian 4, St. Lucy's 0

5/26/2011

GLENDORA -- All Savannah Carpenter was trying to do was hit the ball where it was pitched. She ended up hitting it where no one could catch it.

Carpenter's two-out, three-run blast in the fifth inning propelled top-seeded Oaks Christian past St. Lucy's, 4-0, in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 softball playoffs Thursday afternoon at St. Lucy's.

"I was getting nervous," said Carpenter, who went 2-for-3. "I was trying to guess what pitch was coming next and stay on top of the ball. I was not expecting a home run. I was just trying to get a base hit."

St. Lucy's pitcher Danielle O'Toole, who had spun back-to-back shutouts heading into Thursday, kept attacking the outside part of the plate. Carpenter noticed it, made the necessary adjustment and jumped on a 3-and-2 offering. She called it a "big sigh of relief."

The shot gave Oaks Christian (28-5) some much-needed breathing room. Ace Kiana Quolas tossed five innings of no-hit ball to improve to 17-3 on the season.

"I started throwing a lot of balls in the fifth," Quolas said. "I could tell that I was getting a little tired. Kristin (Cullen), our freshman pitcher, she's also really, really good. I really trusted her to come in and save me."

Cullen gave up a single to the first batter she faced, breaking up the Lions' bid for a combined no-hitter. She immediately got a double-play grounder and finished it off without dramatics. St. Lucy's (16-13), a wild-card, third-place team from the Sierra League, didn't get a runner to second base until the final inning.

"A complete game isn't really a big deal with us," Oaks Christian coach Peter Ackermann said. "We've got two quality pitchers. It doesn't make any sense not to get somebody game experience and give Kiana a little bit more rest."

Oaks Christian will meet fourth-seeded Chino Hills (25-5) in the semifinals. There's some recent history there -- Chino Hills eliminated Oaks Christian in the quarterfinals last year.

"It gives us that extra adrenaline," Quolas said of being the top-seeded team. "I like it. People will come to see us play and others will gun for us."