Lowell shows early dominance with 14-run first inning 

After the Lowell softball team’s long first inning at bat Tuesday, team captain Sati Houston made sure neither she nor her teammates asked coach Sascha Ray what the score was in their key game against rival Washington.

And as Houston jogged back out onto the field to her catcher’s position, her willful ignorance illustrated two things: First, she wanted to make sure her team stayed focused. And second, Lowell had scored enough runs to have lost track.

The first 12 Cardinals batters scored in a 14-run bottom of the first inning and Lowell (15-2) drew 16 walks in a 21-1 three-inning, run-rule shortened win over the Eagles. It was a stunning result considering Washington (15-2) had won 91 of its previous 93 Academic Athletic Association game and is the five-time defending San Francisco Section champion.

"I told everyone the score doesn’t matter until the end and I was worried [that] if we knew, we’d get complacent," said Houston, explaining her motivational tactics. "But at the end, it was like ‘What?’ It feels great. Washington has been the team to beat for a while."

In the past two weeks, Lowell has now exacted revenge for each of its two league losses to put itself in a position for the AAA championship. The Cardinals defeated Lincoln 17-11 on April 24 after losing to the Mustangs 12-7 on March 15 and made a major statement Tuesday in avenging a 12-10 loss April 9 to the Eagles. Now, should Lowell beat Galileo on Thursday and Washington defeat Lincoln (16-1), the Cardinals, Eagles and Mustangs would finish deadlocked for first place. Lincoln clinches the regular-season crown with a win, while a tie would be settled by a drawing from a hat in the AAA office prior to the start of next week’s section playoffs.

"We’ve been on the other end of games like this plenty of times and to beat Washington feels just as sweet as I imagined it would," Ray said. "The girls have really stepped it up and it’s been a joy to watch."

Houston, Alina Werth and Rubye Chiu each had two hits for Lowell, while pitcher Samia Zuber held the potent Washington offense to just the one run on two hits.

Lowell 21, Washington 1

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