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Softball D6: Citrus Valley 5, Kern Valley 2

IRVINE -- When it came to bat in the bottom of the second inning, top-seeded Citrus Valley found itself trailing by two runs in its Southern Section Division 6 championship game.

By the time it came to bat in the third, the Blackhawks were in control.

Citrus Valley scored three runs in the bottom of the second and pitcher Taylor Troost struck out 10 in 4 1/3 innings of relief to give the Blackhawks a 5-2 victory over Lake Isabella Kern Valley at Col. Barber Park.

Troost came on with one out in the top of the third and runners at second and third, then pitched like she owned Deanna Manning Stadium. A popup to second and a strikeout ended the threat by Kern Valley (25-5).

Troost gave up only three hits the rest of the way, two in the fifth inning when she got a double-play to end the inning.

Jessica Yasin, who singled with two out in the seventh, got two of the three hits against Troost.

And if Friday's performance was any indication, Citrus Valley may not be done winning championships. Troost is a freshman. She came on in relief of junior Hayley Jaquess, who had been hit in the hand while batting during the three-run rally in the bottom of the second.

A walk and the hit batter set up the inning in which No. 8 hitter Brianna Chairez drove home one run and leadoff batter Ashlyn Morris singled home two.

Jaquess added an RBI single in the third, and Nikki Hoffman drove in a run in the fifth with a sacrifice fly.

But the story was Troost, who relied on her go-to pitches, her curve and rise.

When she came in nursing what appeared to be a tenuous lead, she said, "I thought to myself, 'Just make pitches, make strikes.' I was good when I did that."

Very good, it turned out, as Citrus Valley (27-2) won a title in its third year of varsity competition and its first year with seniors. They finished with a 21-game winning streak.

"It feels amazing," said Troost. "I kept telling people after each inning, '12 more outs, 9 more outs, 3 more outs.'"

No more outs.