Chugiak's Darion Gobert struck out nine and shut out a powerful Bartlett offense Wednesday, leading the Mustangs to a 3-0 win over the fourth-seeded Golden Bears in Cook Inlet Conference tournament softball at Albrecht Fields.
The win advanced the top-seeded Mustangs (12-3) to play third-seeded East (11-4) today in the winner's bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Each team won their first two games of the tournament, and East upset second-seeded Dimond 6-5 on Wednesday to advance.
In the game against Bartlett, all three of Chugiak's runs were scored on outs: one on a sacrifice fly, the other two by fielder's choice. Three runs were more than enough for Gobert.
Gobert pitched seven innings to complete the game, and she said she felt her strongest in the final innings.
With the Mustangs leading 3-0 in the top of the sixth, Gobert battled through a 10-pitch at-bat, finally surrendering an infield hit to Yolanda Alailefaleulia to start the inning.
Bartlett's next hitter, Celeste Manumaleuna, worked Gobert to a full count before drilling a single over second base. On the next two pitches, Alailefaleulia and Manumaleuna stole third and second respectively, setting two Golden Bears in scoring position with no outs.
Gobert calmly struck out the next three to end the inning. She then struck out two more in the seventh inning, both with her curveball to the outside of the plate.
"That's my main pitch," said Gobert, who used her curveball to frustrate Bartlett hitters throughout the game.
"If we can get ahead (in the count), she has such pin point control, we can work 'em," said Chugiak coach Jim Huber.
Huber, who calls the pitches from the dugout, said Bartlett knew what pitches were coming, but still couldn't hit them.
Wednesday's game was the third meeting between the two teams and the third time Chugiak won by three runs. They won 5-2 and 7-4 in the previous games.
"We can't seem to beat those guys," said Bartlett coach Dennis Franks. "Our defense was tough, but we just couldn't get a hit. Nothing you can do about that."
The game began roughly the same way it ended. Alailefaleulia managed a two-out hit in the first inning, but Gobert struck out Celeste Manumaleuna to end the inning.
The Mustangs got on the board in the bottom of the first after center fielder Angela Hartford singled, stole second and advanced to third when the throw to second hit her in the helmet and bounded into center field.
Right fielder Ally Anson drove in Hartford on a sacrifice fly to shallow left field.
The Mustangs manufactured their second run in the bottom of the second inning.
Kacey Brooker (3 for 3) led off the inning with a hard-hit grounder that scooted past second base for a hit, then Kristen Lessard snuck in a bunt single to advance Brooker to second.
After Jessi McMullen drew a walk to load the bases, nine-hole hitter Molly Matthis brought Brooker home on a fielder's choice.
"They do a pretty good job of situational hitting," said Huber.
Brooker scored the Mustangs third run when she led off the bottom of the fourth with a double to the center field fence. After Brooker advanced to third on a single by Kristen Lessard, Jessi McMullen drove her in on a softly hit groundout.
The CIC softball tournament ends with Saturday's championship game. The top four teams from the tournament advance to state at Cartee Fields.
East 6, Dimond 5
East's Ginny Rosser came through in the bottom of the sixth and final inning, lifting the third seeded Thunderbirds to a 6-5 upset win over second-seeded Dimond at the CIC softball tournament at Albrecht Fields on Wednesday.
Rosser drove in the winning run with a base hit, breaking the 5-5 tie.
East's Rachel Shoenborn drove a home run over the fence earlier in the game.
South 12, Eagle River 0
South's Rhema Dutton pitched a no-hitter, striking out six in a 12-0 win over Eagle River on Wednesday in the CIC softball tournament at Albrecht Fields.
The win advanced fifth-seeded South (8-7) to play second-seeded Dimond (10-5) today in the next round of the loser's bracket.
Dutton went 2 for 3 with a home run and scored twice.
Mollie Madden went 2 for 2 and scored three times.
Eagle River (1-14) was eliminated from the tournament with its second loss.
Find Jeremy Peters online at adn.com/contact/jpeters or call 257-4335.
CIC Softball championships
Chugiak 3, Bartlett 0
East 6, Dimond 5
South 12, Eagle River 0
West vs. Service, late
Today's Games At Albrecht Fields
7:45 p.m. -- Chugiak vs. East
4:15 p.m. -- Dimond vs. South
6 p.m. -- Bartlett vs. West-Service winner