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Enos, She-Devils 'slap' West Hills

Tina Enos never lets a defense relax.

The Merced College freshman slaps, bunts and can place the ball anywhere she wants on the field.

And once the defense moves in to take those options away, Enos will lace one over their heads.

Tuesday afternoon at She-Devil Diamond was no different.

With West Hills' entire team drawn in following a first-inning single, the former Atwater High star ripped a triple over the head of right fielder Kari Canfield.

The MC sparkplug scored the game's only run on a Porsha Rivers fielder's choice and the She-Devils (20-15) improved to 7-4 in the Central Valley Conference with a 1-0 victory over West Hills.

"I saw they were really playing me in today, so I swung away," said Enos, who improved upon her team-best .322 average with a 2-for-3 performance.

"We really pulled together for this one and we turned in a nice clean game."

MC coach Suzanne Burrola gets a good deal of the credit for the team's new-found unity.

The first-year coach gathered her players together on Monday for a lengthy meeting in which it hashed out a number of grievances.

With the air cleared, Burrola's squad turned in one of its most solid all-around performances of the season, holding West Hills to three hits and playing a rare error-free game.

"The best part about today was that we stayed focused for all seven innings," Burrola said. "This is the kind of team you can let down against, but the girls never let up."

Nicole Blades' transition to the She-Devils' second pitcher has been a smooth one.

The sophomore allowed three hits in three innings of work on Tuesday and held the Falcons hitless with runners in scoring position (0 for 5).

Lindsey Oexle relieved Blades in the fourth and retired West Hills' final 12 batters in order.

"(Steve) Cassady told me I'm a pitcher by circumstance, so that's what I'm trying to do," Blades said. "I'm confident out there, and get more confident when my team plays defense like that.

"I'm not going to strike out a million people, so I need my defense to make plays."

Burrola's game plan of using both pitchers to keep West Hills off balance worked to perfection.

After seeing the harder-throwing Blades for three innings, the Falcons whiffed five times on Oexle's off-speed arsenal.

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