IRVINE -- Nikki Innamorato had been building to this moment. Four years she has pitched for Chino Hills. Now, in her last game, the moment came to her.
And she rose to meet it.
Fighting off nerves and a South Torrance lineup intent on shocking the division, Innamorato pitched a two-hitter and top-seeded Chino Hills scored a 3-0 victory to win the Southern Section Division 3 softball championship.
South Torrance (23-10), the fourth-place team from the Pioneer League that played a wild-card game just to get into the 32-team bracket, had upset second-seeded Burbank Burroughs and third-seeded Glendora St. Lucy's before running into the Chino Hills buzz saw.
Among its six seniors, Chino Hills has five who will play college ball next season—four at Division I programs.
Among those is left-hander Innamorato, who will play at Cal State Poly San Luis Obispo.
Innamorato (22-2) gave up two hits, walked three and struck out four in a nifty performance.
"My nerves made me feel different, but I cn'at let that affect me," Innamorato said afterward. "This is definitely the biggest game I've ever pitched in.
"I just had to win every inning."
Chino Hills definitely won the third inning, when the Huskies scored twice.
Trish Parks had an infield single and Tannon Snow doubled. Parks scored on a grounder by Arizona State-bound Nikki Gerard. Snow scored on the back end of a first-and-third double steal for a 2-0 lead.
Those were the only runs Innamorato needed, but her teammates added insurance in the top of the seventh; following singles by Alyssa Mendez and Gerard, a popup over second base didn't stick to the mitt of second baseman Alex Kossoff and was ruled an error, allowing Mendez to score.
Even that would have been enough for Innamorato, who outdueled Carolyn Snodgress.
"You're at the mercy of your pitching in these games," Chino Hills coach Mike Southworth said, "and she was on.