Camarillo advances to CIF softball championship game

Girls are excited.
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© Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
The Camarillo High School softball team congratulates Megan Resnik, 14, a freshman, after she hit a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Irvine High School 5-3 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 semifinals on May 31 at Camarillo. The team travels to Irvine tomorrow for the championship game. © Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
From the beginning, Megan Resnik looked at her freshman softball season as a learning experience.

“I could have played more on JV,” said Resnik, “but I’ve learned so much this year.”

The reserve catcher figured that, some day, she would be able to use the lessons she had soaked up and deliver a hit that would slice through the thick pressure of the postseason.

“I just didn’t think it would be this soon,” she said with a smile.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Resnik delivered a pinch-hit, game-winning, three-run home run Tuesday afternoon to lift the Camarillo High softball team to a 5-3 win over visiting Irvine in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 semifinals.

The dramatic walk-off homer by a freshman making her 44th varsity plate appearance propelled the young Scorpions (25-7) to its first CIF final in since Olympian Jessica Mendoza was behind the plate in 1996.

“That’s all that matters,” said Camarillo pitcher Sarah Shadinger.

Camarillo took a 2-0 lead behind its junior star, who struck out eight to win her school-record 22nd game of the season and also delivered a pair of RBI doubles, to left-center field in the first inning and right-center field in the third inning, to drive in Shelbie Franco.

“Sarah has her best at bats against the tougher pitchers,” said Camarillo coach Jack Willard. “She really competes at home plate.”

Irvine (22-8) had used every out to reach the semifinals, scoring three in the ninth to top El Toro, 7-4, in the second round and two in the seventh to shock Long Beach Wilson, 2-1, in the quarterfinals “We knew they were never going to quit,” said Willard.

Which is why it stung Camarillo to waste bases-loaded situations in the third and sixth, when freshman Chase Robledo was cut down at the plate tagging up for a vital insurance run.

“It would have been nice to score there,” said Willard.

The Pacific Coast League champion pulled within 2-1 on Bria Madrid’s RBI single in the top of the fourth and, again down to its final three outs, scored twice in the top of the seventh to snatch a 3-2 lead.McRae Cayton drove a leadoff triple to right field and tied the game on Allison Crukrov’s bloop single up the middle. Crukrov was sacrificed to third and scored the leading run on Brooke Madrid’s double to left-center field.

“My heart dropped,” said Shadinger.

Moments later, Willard told Resnik to prepare to pinch hit.

“Ok,” Resnik thought to herself, “this is my chance. I can do this,”

With one out, Brianca Noriega was hit by a pitch and Kristie Dederick drew a walk, setting the stage for Resnik’s heroics.

She worked the count to 3 and 1 and sat on a fastball (“Right down the middle”). She knew she made good contact, but wasn’t sure it had enough to flew over the fence in left-center field (“Sometimes those get caught”).

Resnik knew it had left the yard by the sight of first-base coach Nicole Pinedo.

“I was jumping up and down,” said Pinedo.

Rather than take credit for the managerial masterstroke, the game-turning dramatics had Willard acknowledged the freshman had shown him something.

“I feel bad for Megan,” said Willard. “She’s a decent hitter and she deserved more at bats. Poor coaching at my part.”

Reveling in her reserve role, Resnik shrugged her shoulders and admitted she wouldn’t expect to start the CIF final.

“I’m not a starter,” said Resnik.

No, but she’s now a proven finisher.

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