Home Local NewsLocal SportsRiverside Murrieta Mesa softball team rolls past Vista Murrieta, remains unbeaten in Southwestern League

Murrieta Mesa softball team rolls past Vista Murrieta, remains unbeaten in Southwestern League

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MURRIETA — Softball is a game of opportunity.

Murrieta Mesa starting pitcher Lilly Hauser worked her way into and out of trouble against Vista Murrieta, stranding 10 runners on the bases. Murrieta Mesa’s offense then scored seven unanswered runs and prevailed 10-2 in Tuesday afternoon’s Southwestern League game.

Iowa State-bound outfielder Victoria Prado sparked the offense for the Rams, going 2 for 4 with a home run and four runs batted in.

Murrieta Mesa (21-2 overall, 12-0 in league) inched closer to securing its second consecutive Southwestern League title. The Rams have a two-game lead on Great Oak heading into Thursday’s games, but those teams will play twice during the final week of the regular season.

“The way that this year’s league schedule lined up for us, these final two weeks is a blessing because we get to see quality pitching that will get us ready for a deep (CIF Southern Section) Division 1 playoff run,” Murrieta Mesa coach Antonio Romero said.

Vista Murrieta (11-10, 7-4) struck in the top of the first inning, when Mia Powell tripled and scored on a single by Kylee Espinosa. Hauser got Nadia Roundtree to ground into a double play to limit the damage to a single run.

Murrieta Mesa tied the game on Paige Bambarger’s squeeze bunt, and Macy Clark’s RBI single gave the Rams a 2-1 lead after one inning.

Prado led off the Rams’ half of the third inning by hitting her eighth homer of the year, and two more runs scored off errors by Vista Murrieta.

“We had to attack early in the count and take advantage of the pitches she left up,” Prado said about the Rams’ approach at the plate against Vista Murrieta starter Vanessa Hawks. “These next two weeks for us are basically playoff games because of the quality of pitchers we’ll face.”

Vista Murrieta had opportunities to cut into the deficit but left a combined eight runners on base between the third and sixth innings. The Broncos did score a lone run in the fifth inning, as Kinsley Cox’s single scored Espinosa.

“We had our opportunities today but just couldn’t get it done,” Broncos coach Chantal Smith said. “We’ve been working on hitting in those spots and have been getting better, but today just wasn’t our day.”

Prado got that run back in the bottom of the fourth with a double that scored Taelyn Holley, who led off the inning with a double of her own.

Murrieta Mesa tacked on three more runs in the sixth, with two of those runs coming on an error and the third on a passed ball.

Holley, Hauser, Prado and Bambarger — the top four hitters in Mesa’s lineup — finished with two hits apiece. Holley also walked twice and scored three runs. Jordyn Escalera and Espinosa each had two hits for Vista Murrieta, which will host the final game of the season series against Murrieta Mesa on Friday afternoon.

Hauser needed 133 pitches to finish the game, and she struck out eight batters while walking seven and scattering six hits.

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