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On the Beat Softball: Lopez has been dominant

Posted: May 10, 2014 7:09 p.m.
Updated: May 10, 2014 7:09 p.m.

With little exception, Saugus pitcher Mariah Lopez has been nothing short of dominant during the 2014 softball season.

The sophomore pitcher, already committed to the University of Oklahoma, has been virtually unhittable, overpowering every offense in the Foothill League and leading her team into a first-place tie with West Ranch with just two games to play.

On the season, Lopez has 12 wins in 14 games. In her 75 2/3 innings pitched, Lopez has allowed just 31 hits, seven earned runs and 16 walks.

She’s overpowered hitters to the tune of 136 strikeouts so far and holds a miniscule .648 ERA.

That dominance was on display Thursday in the Centurions’ highly anticipated matchup with the West Ranch.

Lopez was spotted a one-run lead in the first inning and made sure it was enough, shutting out the Wildcats and allowing just five hits on the day.

It wasn’t what she was used to in terms of run support, the Centurions have scored less at least seven runs in six of their eight Foothill League contests.

But Lopez hasn’t needed much of it, allowing more than one run in just one league contest.

In Foothill League play alone, the sophomore is 7-1 with an ERA of just .673. She’s allowed just five earned runs and seven walks in league and has 91 strikeouts to her name.

Saying Lopez is the league’s best pitcher right now shouldn’t be a very controversial statement.

She’s been spectacular so far, and a major reason why Saugus has a great shot at closing out at least a share of the Foothill League title by the week’s end and, perhaps, a lengthy postseason run in the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs.

Volunteer welcome: Let’s take a brief pause from Foothill League softball action to look at the next level.

And no Santa Clarita Valley college athlete is making as big a splash as former Valencia High and current University of Tennessee shortstop Madison Shipman.

Shipman was named a top 10 finalist for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award on Wednesday.

She is batting .434 on the season, with 17 home runs, 50 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.

Shipman will find out on May 21 if she made it into the final three, with the winner announced on May 27.

Selection Sunday: Speaking of college softball, the postseason is about to begin.

The NCAA Division I selection show is tonight at 7 p.m., and Shipman and many other collegiate athletes with ties to the Santa Clarita Valley are looking forward to finding out where they’ll play in the postseason.

The regional round will begin on May 15, with the Super Regionals set for May 22 and the 2014 Women’s College World Series scheduled for May 29 through June 4 in Oklahoma City.



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