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Hawks lose early lead in semifinals

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune Liberty freshman Lauren Chapman had a team-high three hits in Tuesday’s Div. III semifinal loss to the top-seeded Dinuba Emperors.


The Liberty Hawks softball team had their ace dealing on the mound and took an early 2-0 lead and were looking to deliver the upset in the Div. III semifinals.

However, top-seeded Dinuba scored a run in the next inning and added three more in the fifth for a 4-2 victory to end fourth-seeded Liberty’s season.

The Hawks banged out 12 hits against Dinuba ace Kirstin Martinez, but left seven runners on base, including the bases loaded in the top of the fifth.

Sarah Shevenell, who broke Kayla Barber’s school record for wins in a season (22) after the quarterfinal win over Mission Oak-Tulare, scattered seven hits, but was tagged for three earned runs. She struck out eight to run her school record total to 207 and kept her team in position to win the game.

Lauren Chapman led the Hawks with three hits. Camille Vestal, Shevenell, Desirae Sanchez and Hannah Casner each had two hits.

With two outs in the first, Chapman and Vestal singled, but a groundout ended the threat.

However, the Hawks struck for two runs in the second inning. Shevenell singled to lead off the inning. Sanchez followed with a single and both runners moved up on an error.

Pinch-runner Hannah Santoro and Sanchez later scored on wild pitches for a 2-0 lead.

Dinuba cut the lead in half in the third inning. With one out, Dinuba got a single, a double and an error for the first run.

The Emperors scored the go-ahead runs in the fifth inning. The No. 9 batter led off the inning with a double. A single and a walk loaded the bases.

The next two batters doubled to drive in three runs for the 4-2 lead.

Liberty had a chance to tie the game in the fifth with a two-out rally. With one out, Vestal singled, but was forced at second. Shevenell and Sanchez singled to load the bases, but a groundout ended the inning.

Santoro led off the seventh inning with a single, but the Hawks couldn’t advance her past second to end their chance to at a comeback.


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