Danielle Lung was obviously ready for another shot at the Buchanan High softball team.
Clovis High’s junior pitcher fired a three-hit shutout as The Bee’s Central Section fifth-ranked Cougars opened Tri-River Athletic Conference play with a 3-0 victory over No. 4 Buchanan on Friday at the Buchanan Softball Complex in a rematch of last season’s Division I final.
The top-seeded Bears beat second-seeded Clovis 2-0 for the D-I title at Margie Wright Diamond.
“I was so pumped to come out and play against them,” said Lung, the Cougars’ Fresno State-committed ace. “Because they took what we wanted last year.”
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Lung was perfect through 3 1/3 before giving up an infield single to Cal State Bakersfield-bound Katie Jackson. Lung worked around a walk to open the fifth, struck out the side in the sixth, and emerged unscathed in the seventh after allowing singles to Nebraska commit Anni Raley and Claire Buckley, before striking out Stanford commit Molly Millar to end it.
Lung finished with nine strikeouts.
“Danielle did what she does. She gives us a chance to win,” Clovis coach Mike Noel said. “She was dominant early and when they got some runners on, she came through for us with good pitches.”
I was so pumped to come out and play against them.
Clovis’s Danielle Lung, who pitched a three-hit shutout for the Cougars against Buchanan in a rematch of last season’s Central Section Division I final, won 2-0 by the Bears.
Clovis (10-1, 1-0) broke open a scoreless game in the top of the sixth.
Mackenzie Byrd took a pitch in the back and Jordyn Martinez drew a walk to set the stage for Grace Henson, who delivered a one-out, run-scoring single to right field by going with an outside offering from Millar.
“Obviously, my teammates being on base, that hit wouldn’t really have done anything unless there were already people on base,” Henson said. “All week we’ve been working at practice to hit the outside (pitch.) So I kind of knew it was coming and I just went with it when I got it.”
Martinez scored on a delayed double steal, and Tori Mueller contributed a run-scoring single as the Cougars rebounded from their only loss of the season, a 6-1 defeat to Bullard on March 17.
“We like where we’re at,” Noel said. “We suffered a tough loss to Bullard. It was a wake-up call for us. They are a good team. We know now what it takes to win and we’ve been working on those things.”
Buchanan (9-2, 0-1) had a runner at third with one out in the fourth and at third with two outs in the fifth, but came up empty both times.
“They took advantage of their opportunities and we didn’t,” Bears coach Dean Gregory said. “Danielle pitched well and shut us down. And when we had a couple opportunities, we couldn’t quite get a hit across.”
Clovis 3, Buchanan 0
Clovis (10-1, 1-0 TRAC)
Buchanan (9-2, 0-1)
WP: Danielle Lung (9Ks). LP: Molly Millar (6Ks). C, Mackenzie Byrd 1-2, 2B; Jordyn Martinez 1-2; Grace Henson 1-3, RBI; Tori Mueller 2-3, RBI. B, Katie Jackson 1-3; Anni Raley 1-3; Claire Buckley 1-3.