After a Thursday afternoon to remember in the spring sunshine, the Ventura College and Moorpark College softball teams may just be settling into a scorcher of a pennant race.
Vanessa Barretto pounded a bad-hop double through the infield to plate two runs with two outs in the top of the 13th inning as Ventura closed out Moorpark, 5-3, on the fourth attempt.
First-place Ventura (19-7, 8-1) remained atop the Western State Conference's Gold Division with its first win over its cross-county rivals since 2008.
Defending champion Moorpark (12-12, 6-2) dropped 1.5 games off the pace, despite prolonging the game by knotting the score in the bottom of the seventh, 10th and 11th innings.
For nine innings, Ventura's Crystal Bingham and Moorpark's Kelly Eder matched zeroes, combining to put up 16 over the first nine innings on the left-field scoreboard.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead on Julie Cortez's bases-loaded single to left field with two outs in the fifth inning. The Raiders forced extra innings with Laura Perry's single through the left side of the infield with two outs in the seventh inning.
With the international tiebreaker in effect after nine innings, the two teams built a picket fence.
Sacrifice flies by Bingham and Barretto in the 10th and 11th innings, respectively, were matched by Brittany Alfino's RBI single and Cayla Nelson's sacrifice fly.
Nelson sacrificed more than an out. The sophomore centerfielder from Royal High hung on to the out which ended a threat in the eighth inning after colliding with left fielder Perry for the second time this season.
One batter prior, Moorpark shortstop Jamie Yaller threw out Bingham at the plate on Sabrina Gonzalez's double to the left-field wall.
Moorpark had three chances to win it in the 12th, but Ventura first baseman Shianne Sharp cut down Perry at the plate, Alfino's potential game-winning squeeze bunt rolled foul just as the Moorpark celebration began spilling onto the field and Ventura left fielder Brandi Seqovia robbed Taylor Neumann of a game-winning double with a lunging stab at the wall in left field.