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Valley Christian softball shuts out Providence in CIF-SS Division 5 quarterfinals

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CERRITOS — Valley Christian freshman pitcher Rachel Zhang threw a complete game and helped herself by scoring an insurance run in the fifth inning as the Defenders defeated Providence 2-0 in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 quarterfinals Thursday.

“I feel great,” Zhang said. “It was awesome. I love my team and I think we can win it all.”

Zhang threw seven scoreless innings, allowed six hits and had six strikeouts, highlighted by striking out the side in the second and a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh to close the game. She also went 1 for 2 at the plate with a leadoff single in the fifth inning.

  • Valley Christian’s Rachel Zhang holds the mound for the Defenders...

    Valley Christian’s Rachel Zhang holds the mound for the Defenders in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Rachel Zhang holds the mound for the Defenders...

    Valley Christian’s Rachel Zhang holds the mound for the Defenders in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Kayla Martin closes out the game with an...

    Valley Christian’s Kayla Martin closes out the game with an out at first as they win over Providence in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Providence teammates cheer on their batter as they take on...

    Providence teammates cheer on their batter as they take on Valley Christian in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Britton Brown celebrates with her team after a...

    Valley Christian’s Britton Brown celebrates with her team after a huge play in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Providence’s Breanna Pelaez comes up with a big out as...

    Providence’s Breanna Pelaez comes up with a big out as they take on Valley Christian in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Rachel Zhang scores for the Defenders as they...

    Valley Christian’s Rachel Zhang scores for the Defenders as they take on Providence in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian softball celebrates their big win in the CIF-SS...

    Valley Christian softball celebrates their big win in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian softball celebrates their big win in the CIF-SS...

    Valley Christian softball celebrates their big win in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Choyce Chambers waits for her pitch as they...

    Valley Christian’s Choyce Chambers waits for her pitch as they take on Providence in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Peyton Kingery looks for her chance to steal...

    Valley Christian’s Peyton Kingery looks for her chance to steal third in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Peyton Kingery gets the hit as they take...

    Valley Christian’s Peyton Kingery gets the hit as they take on Providence in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Peyton Kingery doesnt let anything get by her...

    Valley Christian’s Peyton Kingery doesnt let anything get by her as they take on Providence in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Lydia Dietz looks to get the out at...

    Valley Christian’s Lydia Dietz looks to get the out at first as they take on Providence in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Britton Brown smiles after making a huge out...

    Valley Christian’s Britton Brown smiles after making a huge out as they take on Providence in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Choyce Chambers slides to third behind Providences Malia...

    Valley Christian’s Choyce Chambers slides to third behind Providences Malia Rode in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Chistian’s Lydia Dietz tags out Providence’s Delailah Lopez as...

    Valley Chistian’s Lydia Dietz tags out Providence’s Delailah Lopez as the two teams battle it out in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Providence’s Delailah Lopez tries to tag out Valley Christians Choyce...

    Providence’s Delailah Lopez tries to tag out Valley Christians Choyce Chambers in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Britton Brown throws to get the out at...

    Valley Christian’s Britton Brown throws to get the out at first as they take on Providence in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Providence’s Olyvia Rutter anticipates her next pitch as they take...

    Providence’s Olyvia Rutter anticipates her next pitch as they take on Valley Christian in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Providence’s Mia Allinson grabs the out as they take on...

    Providence’s Mia Allinson grabs the out as they take on Valley Christian in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Britton Brown and Rachel Zhang celebrate closing out...

    Valley Christian’s Britton Brown and Rachel Zhang celebrate closing out a big inning in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Britton Brown gets a hit as they take...

    Valley Christian’s Britton Brown gets a hit as they take on Providence in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

  • Valley Christian’s Kayla Martin grabs the out as they take...

    Valley Christian’s Kayla Martin grabs the out as they take on Providence in the CIF-SS D5 softball quarterfinals in Cerritos, CA, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

Sophomore catcher Peyton Kingery went 2 for 2 with two singles and a walk. Sophomore Choyce Chambers went 2 for 3 and scored Valley Christian’s first run in the third inning.

“Just seeing how our team has been coming together these past couple of games has been amazing to watch and I’m so excited to see what these upcoming games have for us,” Kingery said.

“It felt amazing,” Kingery added. “Just being able to be there for my team and produce for my team was amazing for me.”

The Defenders (16-6) will play at St. Bonaventure in the semifinals Saturday.

“It’s been a long time for the school and for this group of girls to do it, it’s awesome,” Valley Christian coach Chester Kingery said.

Providence (23-4) was led by junior right fielder Mia Allinson who went 2 for 3 with two singles. Senior pitcher Olyvia Rutter went six innings and allowed six hits, two runs and had two strikeouts.

“Providence has never had a Division 5 team period, and on top of it, they have never had a team that has gone this far, so we have to keep our heads high and be proud of who we are,” Providence coach Manny Travieso said. “We were two games away from the big show.”

Pioneers senior center fielder Breanna Pelaez made a diving catch and robbed Valley Christian freshman right fielder Tallulah Ireland of an extra-base hit for the first out of the bottom of the second inning.

Kingery showed off her arm behind home plate and threw out Providence’s Grace Workman at third base to get out of the top of the third inning.

A two-out RBI single by sophomore first baseman Kayla Martin scored Chambers, who reached base on an error and later stole second and third base. Valley Christian led 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning.

Pelaez made another diving catch in center field that robbed Ireland of an RBI hit with the bases loaded to get out of the bottom of the third.

Zhang threw a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fourth inning.

Back-to-back singles by Zhang and Chambers put runners on first and second with no outs for Kingery in the bottom of the fifth inning. After Kingery delivered a single, Chambers got caught in a pickle between second and third base and was thrown out. However, Zhang took advantage of the situation and scored a run that put Valley Christian up 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning.

“I wanted to help my team out as much as I could,” Zhang said. “I just really love our team and I don’t want it to end.”

Defenders junior Britton Brown snagged what could have been a game-changing line drive for the second out of the sixth inning. Zhang retired the final four batters she faced to secure the victory.

“I’ve told people all year long, we’re playing good teams but we’re good also,” coach Kingery said. “We’ve been underwritten all year but Valley softball is back. We’re ready to go. We’ll stand tall with everybody.”

Final: Valley Christian 2, Providence 0.

The Defenders are headed to the CIF-SS Division 5 Softball semifinals on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/Q9CFKxnp5z

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) May 10, 2024

CIF-SS Division 5 Softball Quarterfinals: Valley Christian 2, Providence 0 headed to the 6th inning in Cerritos. The Defenders scored on some heads up base running. pic.twitter.com/KCGbo9Klbr

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) May 9, 2024

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