The Camarillo High junior pitcher far exceeded her own expectations.
Shadinger belted a walk-off grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Camarillo an 8-4 Pacific View League victory over Oxnard on Thursday afternoon at Camarillo High.
After Oxnard had rallied to tie the score in the top half of the inning, Shadinger drove an 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence for her first career walk-off home run.
“Are you kidding me? This is like my first real year of even hitting,” Shadinger said. “I didn’t get to hit last year so I could just focus on pitching. But this year I asked if I could and they said, ‘OK. We will try it out.’ ”
It proved to be a smart decision after Camarillo (9-4, 3-0) nearly let the game slip away against defending league champion Oxnard (7-3, 2-1).
Camarillo carried a 4-2 lead into the seventh inning before Oxnard took advantage of an error and a wild pitch to tie the score.
Xochitl Coronado led off the inning with a walk and scored on a wild pitch to trim Oxnard’s deficit to 4-3. Pinch runner Meredith Hillenberg slid across with the tying run on passed ball with two outs.
But Camarillo quickly regrouped. The Scorpions loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning on a triple by Shelbie Franc and two walks to set the stage for Shadinger’s dramatic ending.
“We were disappointed we had to go back out and play the bottom of the seventh,” Camarillo head coach Jack Willard said. “But we have not been league champions for two years, and if you want something you used to have you have to fight a little bit. Things aren’t going to come easy. We told them they would have to earn it, especially against a team like Oxnard. They don’t give you anything.”
Camarillo jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a two-out, two-run single by Chase Robledo.
The Scorpions increased their advantage to 4-1 in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Franc and an RBI double by Kristie Dederick.
Franc finished 3 for 4 with a triple, an RBI and a sensational double play on defense. The sophomore second baseman ranged into shallow right-center field to catch a ball in the fourth inning and doubled-up the runner at first.
The clutch plays allowed Camarillo to fire the first salvo of the season between the league rivals. They will meet again on May 6 in a showdown that will likely determine the title.
Camarillo’s had its seven-year championship reign snapped two years, and the Scorpions are eager to bring the crown back.
“We really need it and we really want it,” said Shadinger, who tossed a three-hitter with six strikeouts. “We have worked our butts off out here and we are ready to do it.”