Softball: Justiniano blanks Clark
Updated: April 17, 2012 9:55PM
HAMMOND — Morton pitcher Angelica Justiniano seems to perform best when the pressure mounts.
Since Clark’s bats were pretty quiet during Tuesday’s Great Lakes Athletic Conference matchup, there weren’t very many stressful moments for her.
The junior righthander still tossed her third shutout — scattering five hits and striking out six — leading Morton (7-1, 3-0) to a 4-0 win over the Pioneers (7-2, 1-1).
Justiniano has won six of seven decisions and allowed only two earned runs all year.
“She comes through for us when she really has to step it up,’’ Governors coach Matt Barno said. “I think when she’s in difficult situations, it’s motivational for her. Both her and our catcher (Cierra Charbonneau) are like that.’’
Experienced and poised, Justiniano out-dueled talented Clark freshman, Valarie Ruiz, who allowed only six hits, fanned nine and walked two.
“I felt pretty comfortable out there, but to be honest, it wasn’t my best performance,’’ Justiniano said. “They were touching me a lot. I gave up five hits. I think I could’ve done better.’’
The Governors scored twice in the third and fifth innings to give Justiniano plenty of support.
Vivian Peterson and Jessica Chorak each had two hits, while Megan Rogers doubled in a run. Chorak and Charbonneau, Justiniano’s cousin, each had an RBI.
“I think our team is really a lot closer this year,’’ Justiniano said. “We weren’t always on the same page or picking each other up last year. Our communication is better now.’’
Coach Christina Delgado saw Clark lose its second straight after a 7-0 start.
“I think the girls were probably a little nervous today, because this was a big conference game for us,’’ she said.
“We didn’t hit well. You can’t win without putting the ball in play. Morton’s a good team. They have some strong hitters. They hit the ball hard and found the holes today. We knew it was going to be a tough game (Justiniano) is a tough pitcher. She has more experience than my girl does — she’s only 14 years old.
“This is one of the best teams we’ve faced. It gives us a little idea of where we are and where we need to go.’’