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Saturday, February 23 , 2019, 4:28 am | Fair 39º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

San Marcos Defeats Palm Springs, Advances to CIF Quarterfinals

Aliyah Huerta-Leipner’s all-around performance leads Royals to 3-1 victory over Indians

Aliyah Huerta-Leipner winds up for a pitch during Tuesday’s CIF second round mathcup versus Palm Springs.
Aliyah Huerta-Leipner winds up for a pitch during Tuesday’s CIF second round mathcup versus Palm Springs.  (Noozhawk file photo )

No matter what the stage or level of competition, great players always seem to rise to the occasion and thrive under pressure.

For the San Marcos girls softball team, this particular player is Aliyah Huerta-Leipner. 

With two scoreless innings of relief to go along with a 2 for 4 performance at the plate and a run scored, the sophomore led the Royals to a 3-1 victory over Palm Springs during the second round of the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs on Tuesday. 

“She’s got such great moment as pitcher,” San Marcos coach Jeff Swann said. “She really mixed it up pitching-wise today and they had a really hard time hitting the ball.”

The Royals got another solid outing on the mound from Hailee Rios, who went five innings while allowing just one earned run on two hits and striking out seven. 

Contributing nicely to the San Marcos offense was senior designated hitter Sienna Berlinger, who went 1 for 3 with 3 RBI’s.

In the bottom of the first, the Royals jumped out to a 3-0 advantage over the Indians. Huerta-Leipner led off with a single before both Cara Christian and Hailey Fryklund were hit by pitches. This loaded the bases for Berlinger, who capitalized with a three-run RBI single to right field.

In the top of third, Palm Springs got their first run of the day off a single and an RBI double. This score cut the San Marcos lead to just 3-1. 

However, the combination of Rios and Huerta-Leipner didn’t let up a hit from that point onward. The Royals were also aided by a strong defensive effort that included no errors on the day. 

“We’ve got two great pitchers that can keep the hitters off balance and they’ve done a really great job the last three weeks,” added coach Swann. “Our team knows that if we get a run or two, then we can hang with these teams.”

During every inning except for the sixth, San Marcos had runners on base. Despite loading the bases once again in the fifth, the Royals could not muster another insurance run.  

With the victory, San Marcos (19-10 overall) advances to the CIF Quarterfinals versus top-ranked North Torrance. The Royals will play host to the Saxons on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

“They’re a really great team but there’s no pressure on us,” concluded coach Swann. “We just want to go out there loose and see what happens.” 

— Noozhawk sports reporter Blake DeVine can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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