Franc gets her redemption

Sarah Shadinger is throwing a ball.
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© Joseph A. Garcia/VC Star
Camarillo High's Sarah Shadinger winds up for a pitch during a CIF-SS playoff game against Northwood . Camarillo won 2-1. © Joseph A. Garcia/VC Star

Shelbie Franc was praying for her shot at redemption.

The Camarillo High sophomore had just committed an error in the top of the seventh inning that allowed the tying run to score, and was beating herself up about the mistake.

But with one swing of the bat, Franc managed to put her mind a bit more at ease.

Franc stroked a bases-loaded, walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh to lift fourth-seeded Camarillo to a 2-1 victory over Northwood on Thursday afternoon in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs at Camarillo High.

Camarillo (22-7) advances to play Mission Viejo in the second round on Tuesday.

“I was envisioning grounding into a double play and all the other negative things. But I had to pull it together and make a positive out of it,” Franc said. “It’s still tough to think about the error, especially in this type of game situation. But I knew our team could battle back.”

Hosting a playoff game for the first time in three years, Camarillo made sure to add a little drama for the home fans.

Camarillo junior pitcher Sarah Shadinger carried a one-hitter into the seventh inning before allowing a two-out single to Northwood’s Kendall McElvaney.

One strike away from ending the game, Shadinger induced Nicole Thomas into a ground ball to second base.

But the ball went through Franc’s legs and rolled into right field, allowing McElvaney to score from first base and tie the score 1-1.

“Shelbie Franc is an outstanding defensive player, but outstanding defensive players occasionally make an error,” Camarillo head coach Jack Willard said. “She felt worse than anybody else about it. But I tell you what, I hope the next time we have a game and are ahead in the seventh inning, they hit a ground ball to our second baseman. She is a tough kid.”

Shadinger (19-5) finished with a two-hitter and 12 strikeouts to boost her county-leading total to 229.

After giving up a slap single to the first batter of the game, the Oregon State-bound right-hander clamped down on Northwood (16-11) until allowing the second single in the seventh.

Shadinger retired eight of the first 11 Northwood batters by strikeout while also driving in Camarillo’s first run on a double in the bottom of the first inning.

“She had great command of her pitches. Where I was calling them, she was throwing them. She did not miss,” Willard said. “She has been really tough on people over the last month, and she was great today.”

Camarillo made sure Shadinger’s performance didn’t go to waste by displaying its resolve in its last at-bat.

Freshman Kellie Kooker led off the inning with a double, and Hayley Chamberlain and Jenna King eventually drew walks to load the bases.

Franc stepped to the plate and drove a single to left field to make sure her error wasn’t the lasting memory.

Willard was scheduled to fly to Washington on Friday morning to watch his daughter, Delaney, and her Brigham Young University softball team play its second game in the NCAA Regionals.

The trip will be much more enjoyable after Camarillo held on for its own postseason victory.

“I feel great about this team,” Willard said. “They are better offensively than they showed today. But we have a really, really good group of kids.”

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