Rancho senior Brandy Marlett looked as if she could pitch all day Wednesday.
One bad swing and one mighty swing made sure she didn’t have to.
Marlett tossed a seven-hitter, and freshman Katerina Anthony delivered a two-out RBI double in the top of the eighth inning for the game’s only run as the Rams softball team edged host Green Valley 1-0.
“I was just very comfortable,” Marlett said. “My change-up was working, every time they either swung and missed or it was a strike for the (umpire), and my riseball and my curve.”
Marlett struck out six and walked one, and pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the third inning, all the while waiting for Rancho (20-1, 4-0 Northeast League) to show any sign of life on offense.
“She’s my go-to girl all year,” Rancho coach Amanda Zunno said. “She’s very self-disciplined, and that carries over to the discipline on the team. She wants the ball in her hands, and she wants to push her team to be successful.”
It took a wild swing to finally spark the Rams.
Green Valley’s Samantha Loving allowed just two runners in the first seven innings — one on a hit batter in the second, the other on McKinzi Vega’s infield single in the fifth.
But with one out in the eighth, Tiare Lee swung and missed at a 1-and-2 pitch. The pitch was high and sailed to the backstop, allowing Lee to reach first base, just ahead of the throw.
“That’s why you run everything out,” Zunno said. “You have to make things happen to get runs.”
Kayla Coles sacrificed Lee to second, setting the stage for Anthony, Rancho’s No. 8 hitter.
Anthony, who had struck out and flied out to shallow right, ripped the first pitch into right-center field to score Lee. Anthony was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple to end the inning.
“She’s come through with some really big hits so far,” Zunno said. “She’s coming along really well as a freshman.”
The run was enough for Marlett, who allowed a one-out single to Maggie Manwarren in the eighth before getting a fielder’s choice and a grounder to second to end the game.
“It was a relief knowing I could just do what I can do,” Marlett said. “If they got a hit, we still had that run.”
Marlett, who threw 69 of her 94 pitches for strikes, held the Gators (7-8, 2-2) to a 1-for-9 effort with runners on base.
Loving deserved a better fate, allowing just two hits and no walks. She struck out six.
Manwarren was 3-for-4, and Autumn Owens went 2-for-3 with a double for Green Valley.
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 387-5230.