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Pride tops ‘Dogs in crucial matchup to keep playoff hopes alive
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The Pitman Pride varsity softball team celebrates after Kat Martinez hit a solo homer off Turlock starting pitcher Shelby Frutoz. The Pride defeated the Bulldogs 6-0. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

Tuesday’s Central California Athletic League matchup between Turlock and Pitman High softball had huge playoff implications when both teams squared off for the third and final time from the Bulldogs field.

Sophomore starting pitcher Gabby De Leon pitched a gem after she tossed a complete game shutout behind a defense that was error-free and the offense rallied in the third with a big inning that carried over and the game ended, 6-0, to keep the five-game winning streak in league alive.

“Our approach was to come in and play hard and try and keep them off the bases, but they hit well and didn’t do much of that today,” said Turlock head coach Jill Ogden. “A little sloppy and it opened the door during the game. We talked about playing solid defense in practice yesterday, but we are trying not to give them an extra opportunity because they run the bases so well and they opened the door and took full advantage of it.” 

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Turlock High’s Faith Erb finished Tuesday’s game against Pitman with two of the teams four hits for the game. Pitman won 6-0. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

“Top three go to the playoffs,” said Pitman head coach Joe Lewis. “We had to win out for any chance at the postseason. Gregori has to lose to Enochs and Turlock for us to stand a chance. We are one game back when we beat them, because they beat us, but we have won five in a row in league and now, Enochs, we have them Thursday.”

Following Thursday’s results, Enochs has clinched the CCAL title with an 11-2 record so far.

Turlock is in second at 9-4 and Pitman sits behind Gregori with a league posting of 8-5.

“It is packed up with four teams and only three go to playoffs, so we are going to try and clinch a playoff spot and go from there,” said Ogden.

Over the last seven league games played, Turlock is 5-2.

It is also the first time this season that the Bulldogs have been shutout in league play.

“Every year it is always us two in a big game, but this time we really needed it, because if we lose, we were out,” said Lewis.

Going into the sixth inning, Pitman had nine hits.

Turlock had four for the entire game, and Faith Erb had two of those hits. 

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Sophomore starting pitcher Gabby De Leon of Pitman High pitched a complete game shutout on Tuesday against Turlock High after she held the Bulldog offense to just four hits. Pitman won 6-0. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

Following a shutout first and second inning, the catalyst became the third inning.

In the top of the third, Pitman had a four-run rally that started off with an RBI single from Megan Johnson that made it 1-0.

Delaney Huse Davison followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.

De Leon helped herself after smacking a two-run double to extend the lead to 4-0.

Johnson scored the fifth run in the top of the fifth after a wild sequence allowed her to steal and also some throwing errors occurred in the process.

Senior Kat Martinez drilled a solo homer to deep center off Turlock starter Shelby Frutoz.

Frutoz pitched a complete game and allowed 10 hits and five earned runs.

“I think mentally they have been great,” said Lewis. “The mindset, they know what we need to do and the games we have won, we commit no errors basically, we were a threat for a while, but we made errors and lost big games. Timely hitting and once we are on the base, we can make things happen because we are aggressive.”

Pitman are currently 10-13 overall while Turlock goes to 15-8.

The Pride also finished Tuesday’s game with six steals.

Pitman will next travel to Enochs High to take on the Eagles at 3:45 p.m. Thursday.

“This was the best game we have played all year. We had our best game against Enochs when we beat them 2-1, but this one topped it because of our bats,” Lewis added.

Turlock’s next game will be on the road at Gregori High at 3:45 p.m. Thursday.