PGF cancels national championships for older divisions, All-American high school game


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Premier Girls Fastpitch on Sunday canceled its 18- and 16-and-under national travel softball championships and its All-American high school game — all scheduled for Orange County this summer — because of the coronavirus.

PGF president/CEO Dan Hay hoped the last several weeks that the tournaments scheduled for July 24-Aug. 1 and the national all-star game planned for Aug. 1 could be played but the recent surge of coronavirus cases and the suspension of youth sports in the state sealed the fate of the high-profile events.

Hay made the announcement with a heavy heart. The PGF nationals have grown into a festival for the softball community and attracted national television exposure for players and teams.

Pacifica’s Alyssa Brito (Oregon) and Los Alamitos’ Kennedi Houshmandzadeh (LSU) were selected to the All-American game.

“These kids aren’t going to have these life-long memories,” Hay said. “We looked into relocating it to another part of the country and every other part of the country is having problems. It’s too uncertain. … There was no way to do it.”

PGF hasn’t yet canceled the second week of its championships — for the 14, 12 and 10 age divisions — but Hay isn’t optimistic those events scheduled for Aug. 2-9 will be played. An announcement is expected on July 19.

“I don’t think there’s a chance,” Hay said of the likelihood of the tournaments being played.

Last season between its two sessions, the PGF Nationals hosted about 635 teams from across the nation.

The tournaments were viewed as the crown jewel of the highly-competitive travel softball season.

“The cancellation is a such a huge blow for our softball season,” said Coach Alan Caouette of California Cruisers and Aliso Niguel High. “All year we look forward to playing in this prestigious event. … In a year of chaos, it would been outstanding to finish with this event.”

Hay said the PGF trimmed the number of teams this year to about 550 in hopes of managing the schedule amid the pandemic and limiting crowds.

But the number of coronavirus cases in Orange County have risen and youth sports statewide have been postponed by the California Department of Public Heath.

Hay, however, believes the softball games should be allowed to go on.

“I believe that these kids should be able to go out and play games and allow the organizations to social distance responsibly,” said Hay, also the co-head softball at Marina. “Baseball and softball, it’s pretty easy to social distance.”

Hay said his organization has been seriously impacted financially by the cancellations but will be “fine” and “ready for 2021.” PGF applied for and received funds through the Payroll Protect Plan, he said.

The cities of Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley and Irvine also will be impacted financially by the cancellation of the tournaments.

“We bring over 50,000 people into Southern California during those two weeks,” Hay said. “The money that they’re spending in restaurants and hotels and stores and gas stations is going to be sorely missed by these communities.”

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Los Alamitos softball coach Rob Weil heartbroken season ends for his nationally top-ranked team

Los Alamitos softball coach Rob Weil knows his program isn’t easy for players and shares that from the start.

As the leader of one of the top teams in Southern California, Weil demands a lot in practice, weight training and team functions.

And there’s a difficult, internal competition to earn coveted varsity spots, a journey that easily can begin on the junior varsity level for freshmen.

But players commit to the rigors because of the reward often waiting for them at the end of the season.

This spring, however, there will be no rewards because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I feel really bad for my team because of how hard they worked and how much they prepared from Day 1 of school to get to the point where we were,” Weil said. “It’s a shame it had to end like this. … It’s heart-wrenching.”

For Los Alamitos and schools from across California, the ending arrived Friday with the CIF State and all sections canceling the spring playoffs this year because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

One day earlier, most districts in Orange County, including Los Alamitos Unified, closed their campuses for the remainder of this school year to focus on distance learning or online studies.

The Griffins were enjoying a stellar spring. Not only were they 10-0, they were ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to the MaxPreps poll last updated March 20.

Los Alamitos also appeared to be a legitimate threat for two-time defending Division 1 champion Norco, which featured star pitchers Sarah Willis and Stevie Hansen but a retooled offense.

“We didn’t really get a chance to fight for that (No. 1 ranking) and compete for that top honor,” Weil said. “We thought we had a team that could compete with anyone out on the field this year and we showed it in Loughlin (at the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions).”

Los Alamitos stormed to the tournament title March 7 in Nevada and had the next week off before the coronavirus shuttered Orange County schools.

Weil said his next task will be writing his players a letter about their season. He said it won’t be easy, especially when it comes his seniors who have committed to the program.

Weil recalls how standout Ali Belarde started her high school career on junior varsity but worked hard to become a “superstar” as a senior. And he watched other seniors such as Carly Robbins, Jamie Sellers and pitcher Tyler Denhart persevere to emerge as key players on varsity.

“It’s my kids. It’s my family,” Weil said of his players. “When you see them distraught or you see them disappointed, you feel for them. … It’s unfortunate but things happen for a reason in a life. You got to accept it and go on with it.”

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Sophia Nugent, Jamie Sellers power Los Alamitos softball past Crescenta Valley for Dave Kops TOC title

Sophia Nugent belted a three-run home run and Jamie Sellers added a solo homer to help power Los Alamitos’ top-ranked softball team past Crescenta Valley 6-2 in the finals of the prestigious Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Ariz. on Saturday night.

Carly Robbins added two hits and Ali Belarde had a triple for Los Alamitos (10-0), which stormed to the tournament championship by going 5-0.

The Oklahoma-committed Nugent lunched her home run in the top of the fourth to give the Griffins a 4-0. Sellers followed with her solo homer in the fifth to extend the lead to 5-0.

In the semifinals, Los Alamitos defeated Ironwood Ridge of Arizona 4-2 behind a complete game and six strikeouts by pitcher Tyler Denhart.

Crescenta Valley (10-1) beat Mater Dei 4-0 in the other semifinal.

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Mater Dei softball stuns national No. 1 Norco to join Los Alamitos in semifinals of Dave Kops TOC

Mater Dei’s softball team didn’t let the upset escape this time.

The Monarchs defeated nationally top-ranked Norco 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Ariz. on Friday night, claiming the upset that narrowly eluded them about a week ago in Chino Hills.

Mater Dei lost to the Cougars 5-4 at their showcase on Feb. 27.

The Monarchs are the first team this spring to beat Norco (9-1), the two-time defending CIF-SS Division 1 champion.

Mater Dei advanced to the semifinals of the TOC and will face Crescenta Valley on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Mohave High.

Los Alamitos defeated Villa Park, 7-5, in another quarterfinal to reach the semifinals against Ironwood Ridge of Arizona in another 1:30 p.m. game.

The championship is scheduled for 8 p.m.

 

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Mater Dei softball coach Jessica Foley resigns after three seasons

Mater Dei softball coach Jessica Foley, who guided the Monarchs to consecutive Trinity League titles, has resigned after three seasons.

Foley resigned during the summer and accepted a position as an administrative assistant for the assistant principal of student services, Mater Dei athletic director Tia Meza said.

Foley compiled a 60-25-1 record. The Monarchs shared the Trinity League title this past season with Orange Lutheran and Santa Margarita and won the title outright in 2018 as the No. 1 ranked team in Orange County.

Mater Dei lost to Esperanza 2-1 in the first round of the Division 1 playoffs this past season but reached the Division 1 quarterfinals in 2018 with senior standouts Kelli Godin and Mackensie Kohl.

Meza, who coached the Mater Dei team prior to Foley, said the school is finishing its interviews for the opening.

Foley served as an assistant under Meza and previously was an assistant at El Modena, her alma mater.

Please send softball news to Dan Albano at dalbano@scng.com or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter, thank you for following the coverage and please consider a subscription.

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Orange County softball brings home gold at PGF All-American game, 18-and-under final

IRVINE One team with Orange County players shouted “West Coast! Best Coast!” after its all-star game victory.

Another squad with county players captured the highest division in arguably the toughest tournament in the nation.

Orange County softball was indeed well-represented in the two spotlight games hosted by Premier Girls Fastpitch at Deanna Manning Stadium on Saturday.

Former Orange Lutheran center fielder Ciara Briggs went 2 for 3 and scored the first run of the pivotal third inning to help the West defeat the East 6-3 in the fourth PGF High School All-American Game.

Earlier on Saturday, the Temecula-based Athletics Mercado, featuring Beckman senior utility player Madi Simon among other county players, edged Georgia Impact 1-0 in the 18-and-under final in Premier Division of the 10th annual PGF national championships.

“If you make it that game, you have to be considered the two top teams in the country,” PGF president Dan Hay said of the 18-and-under final. “You had to beat every strong organization in the United States to get there. There’s no doubt (who’s the best).”

The West all-stars started former Huntington Beach star Jadelyn Allchin in left fielder and batted her leadoff.

Briggs batted second and played center fielder.

After Allchin drew a one-out walk in the third, Briggs followed with a single to right and later scored the first run of the game on a two-out bases-loaded walk.

The West scored four more times with two outs to open a 5-0 lead and added another run in the seventh. The East scored three times in the fifth on a two-out error.

“It was amazing,” the LSU-bound Briggs said of the all-star game. “Being able to come out with the top players on the West Coast, getting to know each other and play together, it was really fun before college.”

Briggs, The Register’s reigning offensive player of the year, also singled down the field field line in the fourth inning.

She almost went 3 for 3 but her sinking liner to right in the first inning was snagged just before hitting the grass by Oklahoma-bound Rylie Boone.

West third baseman Jazmine Hill from Gahr was selected the game’s first MVP. The Arizona State-bound Hill had a single and double and played sparkling defense.

Orange Lutheran pitcher/infielder Miranda Stoddard didn’t play in the all-star game because of a sprained thumb from the Colorado tournament but enjoyed a memorable day.

She and Edison pitcher Jenna Bloom (Arkansas) were also on the Athletics-Mercado team with Simon. Stoddard served as a pinch-runner for the team, which went 10-0 in the tournament.

“It’s still an honor,” the Kentucky-bound Stoddard said of the all-star game. “I scored a few runs (for Athletics-Mercado). Not going to lie.”

Allchin decided to play the all-star game as she continues to prep for the under-19 World Cup next month here with the U.S. junior national team.

“I was really excited to play one more time back over here,” the Washington-bound Allchin said. “This was something … to stay in the grove of things.”

Simon, a Duke commit, served a pinch-hitter in the final. Athletics-Mercado won 1-0 behind one-hitter with 14 strikeouts by Allison Royalty.

“It was crazy,” Simon said of the final. “Just mind-blowing. The whole team came together.”

Simon, Stoddard and Bloom were first-year players with Athletics-Mercado, joining after playing for Explosion.

Simon had two hits and stole a base in the semifinals against the Tampa Mustangs.

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Trabuco Hills’ Kyliegh Wilkerson is the Register’s Female Outstanding Competitor

MISSION VIEJO – Kyliegh Wilkerson offered two special intentions when she prayed before going to sleep each Friday night in the spring.

The Trabuco Hills senior prayed for strength at her track and field meet on Saturday and for health for her family, including her father, Clark, who is waiting for a kidney transplant.

  • Trabuco Hills’ Kyliegh Wilkerson, is The Register’s Outstanding Competitor for 2018-2019. Wilkerson was a two-sport stand out in Track and Field with the Discus and in Basketball. Photographed on Friday May 31, 2019. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

  • Trabuco Hills’ Kyliegh Wilkerson, is The Register’s Outstanding Competitor for 2018-2019. Wilkerson was a two-sport stand out in Track and Field with the Discus and in Basketball. Photographed on Friday May 31, 2019. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Trabuco Hills’ Kyliegh Wilkerson, right, is The Register’s Outstanding Competitor for 2018-2019. She is photographed with her older sister, Haliegh Wilkerson, 21, left, who attends Hope International University in Fullerton. Photographed on Friday May 31, 2019. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

  • Trabuco Hills’ Kyliegh Wilkerson, is The Register’s Outstanding Competitor for 2018-2019. Wilkerson was a two-sport stand out in Track and Field with the Discus and in Basketball. Photographed on Friday May 31, 2019. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

  • Trabuco Hills’ Kyliegh Wilkerson, is The Register’s Outstanding Competitor for 2018-2019. Wilkerson was a two-sport stand out in Track and Field with the Discus and in Basketball. Photographed on Friday May 31, 2019. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

  • Trabuco Hills’ Kyliegh Wilkerson, is The Register’s Outstanding Competitor for 2018-2019. Wilkerson was a two-sport stand out in Track and Field with the Discus and in Basketball. Photographed on Friday May 31, 2019. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

  • Trabuco Hills’ Kyliegh Wilkerson, is The Register’s Outstanding Competitor for 2018-2019. Wilkerson was a two-sport stand out in Track and Field with the Discus and in Basketball. Photographed on Friday May 31, 2019. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

  • Trabuco Hills’ Kyliegh Wilkerson, is The Register’s Outstanding Competitor for 2018-2019. Wilkerson was a two-sport stand out in Track and Field with the Discus and in Basketball. Photographed on Friday May 31, 2019. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

  • Trabuco Hills’ Kyliegh Wilkerson, is The Register’s Outstanding Competitor for 2018-2019. Wilkerson was a two-sport stand out in Track and Field with the Discus and in Basketball. Photographed on Friday May 31, 2019. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

  • Trabuco Hill’s Kyleigh Wilkerson competes in the girls discus during the finals of the CIF State Track and Field Championships at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Buchanan High School campus on Saturday, June 2, 2018 in Clovis, Calif. (Photo by Josh Barber, Contributing Photographer)

  • Kyliegh Wilkerson of Trabuco Hills competes in the Girls Varsity Discus Throw during the CIF State Track and Field meet at Buchanan High School on Friday, May 24, 2019 in Clovis, California. (Photo by Libby Cline Birmingham, Contributing Photographer)

  • Kyliegh Wilkerson of Trabuco Hills competes in the Girls Varsity Discus Throw during the CIF State Track and Field meet at Buchanan High School on Friday, May 24, 2019 in Clovis, California. (Photo by Libby Cline Birmingham, Contributing Photographer)

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“He is on dialysis,” Wilkerson said. “He represents motivation (to me). Coaching. Hard work. Strength. … I saw what he went through and it motivated me do better and go to sports.”

And pursue sports she has. Wilkerson not only played but excelled in varsity basketball, softball and track and field all four years at Trabuco Hills.

She developed into an Orange County and CIF-SS Division 1 champion in the discus. And on several occasions, she competed in track and softball on the same day.

For her efforts, the Cal State Fullerton-bound thrower is the Register’s Female Outstanding Competitor for her excellence as a multi-sport athlete and in the classroom.

“She’s that type of athlete that everybody wishes they could have,” Trabuco Hills boys track coach J.T. Ayers said. “She works extremely hard.”

For the fourth consecutive spring, the 5-foot-7 Wilkerson balanced throwing the discus and shot put while playing multiple positions in softball.

On one marathon Saturday late in March, she threw at the Trabuco Hills Invitational in the early morning. She then started a softball doubleheader against visiting Newport Harbor and returned to track between innings for a throw in the finals.

She competed in track again when softball was over.

“Lots of adrenaline in my body (that day),” said Wilkerson, who won the discus at the CIF Division 1 finals as a junior and holds the school record with a toss of 147 feet, 7 inches. “I did 7 (a.m.) to 7 (p.m.) … (but) I love it. It entertains me.

“If I do good, I’m ‘Yes! See, I can do all (these sports) and I still do good.’ “

But as impressive as that Saturday was for Wilkerson, it wasn’t an exception. Throughout her high school career, she often donned a track jersey and softball pants while throwing discus and playing softball on the same day.

“If you see pictures of me (from high school), it’s usually me in a track top and then my softball pants,” she said with a soft laugh. “With softball and track being the same season, it was hard going from practice for softball and then going straight over to track practice or having a softball game and then going to a track meet.”

In mid-April, Trabuco Hills’ softball team pulled one of the biggest upsets of regular season, edging highly-ranked Santa Margarita 3-2. Wilkerson pitched five innings to earn the victory.

Two days earlier, she captured the discus title at the Orange County Championships.

Wilkerson capped her spring by finishing third in the discus at the CIF-SS Division 1 championships and advancing to the CIF State meet for the second consecutive year.

She accomplished it all after playing for the basketball team in the winter and maintaining her 3.5 grade-point average.

“She’s an amazing athlete,” said Chris Watkins, Wilkerson’s former coach at Trabuco Hills who asked her to join to track as a freshman. “There was never a question of quitting any of the sports. She made it work.”

For Wilkerson, balancing multiple sports in the age of specialization felt second nature.

She grew up playing soccer and softball in the same season. Her older sister, Haliegh, 21, played basketball and softball at Trabuco Hills and then pulled the double at Saddleback College.

The girls, who shared a room and jewelry growing up, also competed against each other.

“We always are competing in something,” said Haliegh, who now plays softball at Hope International.

Both girls grew up playing basketball for their father, Clark Wilkerson, a former assistant coach under Jack Single with the Saddleback College and Santa Ana College women. He also coached girls varsity basketball and freshmen boys basketball at Trabuco Hills.

Clark, who has battled health issues for years, nearly died when Wilkerson was in the seventh grade. The girls and their mother, Cathy, vividly remember the scare but also draw inspiration from Clark’s fight.

He said his daughters inspire him.

“They’ve been right by my side,” Clark said.

Wilkerson wouldn’t have it any other way.

“My family is strong,” she said.

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Orange County all-league softball teams: 2019

The Orange County all-league softball teams for the 2019 season.

(Email complete all-league teams to preps@ocregister.com)

SOFTBALL

ORANGE LEAGUE

MVP: Paige Crumley, Katella, So.

Pitcher of the Year: Citlali Rios, Century, Sr.

First team: Mya Diaz, Anaheim, So.; Miranda Ramirez, Anaheim, Jr.; Andrea Rodarte, Anaheim, Fr.; Anahi Agredano, Katella, Sr.; Samantha Lopez, Katella, Sr.; Alondra Natera, Katella, Sr.; Emily Aguilar, Century, Sr.; Kassandra Villa, Century, Sr.; PJ Serensits, Savanna, So.; Sennie Viramontes, Magnolia, Sr.; Crystall Santana, Santa Ana Valley, So.

Second team: Jayleena Perez, Anaheim, Jr.; Carolyn Rodarte, Anaheim, Sr.; Alexis Vargas, Anaheim, So.; Kaylani Espinoza, Katella, Jr.; Samantha Saldivar, Katella, Fr.; Diana Arredando, Century, So.; Angie Sandoval, Century, Sr.; Nayia Ruiz, Savanna, Sr.; Sophia Kashou, Savanna, So.; Stephanie Marin, Magnolia, Sr.; Alondra Tapia, Santa Ana Valley, Jr.

Sportsmanship: Century

Coach of the Year: Alyssa Gutierrez, Anaheim

SURF LEAGUE

Most Valuable Player: Emily Rush, Marina, Jr.

Most Valuable Pitcher: Sarah Ladd, Los Alamitos, Sr.

First team: Emily Rush, Marina, Jr.; Sarah Ladd, Los Alamitos, Sr.; Shayla Thomas, Marina, Sr.; Nicole Logrecco, Marina, Sr.; Ali Belarde, Los Alamitos, Jr.; Emma Sellers, Los Alamitos, Jr.; Jamie Sellers, Los Alamitos, Jr.; Samantha Denehy, Los Alamitos, Sr.; Jenna Bloom, Edison, Sr.; Bella Espinoza, Edison, So.; Grace Uribe, Huntington Beach, Jr.; Jadelyn Allchin, Huntington Beach, Sr.

Second team: Taylor Lane, Marina, So.; Sophia Nugent, Los Alamitos, So.; Serena Starks, Edison, Sr.; Jaelyn Operana, Edison, Sr.; Alyssa Reynolds, Edison, Sr.; Megan Ryono, Huntington Beach, Sr.; Reanna Rudd, Huntington Beach, Jr.

WAVE LEAGUE

Most Valuable Player: Eliana Gottlieb, Newport Harbor, So.

Most Valuable Pitcher: Clare Austin, Newport Harbor, Jr.

First team: Eliana Gottlieb, Newport Harbor, So.; Clare Austin, Newport Harbor, Jr.; Lindsey Blanchfield, Newport Harbor, So.; Kendall Kelly, Newport Harbor, So.; Leah Freeman, Newport Harbor, Sr.; CJ Garcia, Fountain Valley, So.; Brooke Pace, Fountain Valley, So.; Sydney Walls, Corona del Mar, Fr.; Makena Tomlinson, Corona del Mar, Fr.; Amerys Barshtak, Corona del Mar, Sr.; Emily Thomas, Laguna Beach, Sr.

Second team: McKayla Cotton, Newport Harbor, Fr.; Sam Araiza, Fountain Valley, Sr.; Samara Ortega, Fountain Valley, So.; Taylor Staffa, Fountain Valley, Sr.; Trasara Alexander, Corona del Mar, So.; Sophia Skerik, Corona del Mar, Jr.; Lola Fisher, Laguna Beach, Sr.; Maddie Garwahl, Laguna Beach, Sr.

TRINITY LEAGUE

MVP: Ciara Briggs, Orange Lutheran, Sr.

Pitcher of the Year: Isabella Fiorentino, Santa Margarita, Sr.

First team: Jolie Gustave, Mater Dei, Jr.; Erica Holt, Mater Dei, Sr.; Marlene Friedman, Mater Dei, Jr.; Nyomi Jones, Mater Dei, Sr.; Ciara Briggs, Orange Lutheran, Sr.; Miranda Stoddard, Orange Lutheran, Sr.; Mariah Rodriguez, Orange Lutheran, Sr.; Victoria Fragoso, Orange Lutheran, Jr.; Isabella Fiorentino, Santa Margarita, Sr.; Miranda Johnson, Santa Margarita, Sr.; Melanie Santos, Santa Margarita, Jr.; Jessica Goode, Santa Margarita, Jr.; Paris Schwalbe, JSerra, Fr.; Alison Steinker, JSerra, Jr.; Bryn Boznanski, Rosary, Jr.; Isabella Fuentes, Rosary, Fr.

Second team: Atlantis Perez, Mater Dei, Jr.; Hailey Hanson, Mater Dei, Sr.; Jacqueline Gonzalez, Mater Dei, Sr.; Hannah Jacobsen, Mater Dei, Jr.; Brenna Begin, Orange Lutheran, Jr.; Paloma Usquiano, Orange Lutheran, Sr.; Jaeden Barajas, Orange Lutheran, Sr.; Cadie Williams, Santa Margarita, Jr.; Kendall Furlong, Santa Margarita, Sr.; Abbey Charpentier, Santa Margarita, So.; Angie Yellen, Santa Margarita, So.; Sarah Shaw, JSerra, Jr.; Hollie Farmer, JSerra, Fr.; Kathryn Davis, Rosary, Jr.; Brianne Kang, Rosary, Fr.

 

 

 

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Albano’s Diamond Club: Orange County softball standouts of the week, May 6

Dan Albano’s softball players of the week:

Chloe DePierro, Dana Hills, Jr.

The left fielder highlighted a nine-run fourth inning with a grand slam to help lead the Dolphins past Tesoro 10-0 in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs.

Taylor Halterman, Esperanza, Sr.

The first baseman went 1 for 3 with two RBI to help the Aztecs knock off Mater Dei 2-1 in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs.

Nadia Perez, Troy, So.

Perez went 3 for 4 with a double, home run and five RBI to help the Warriors upset No. 2 seeded Ramona 7-1 in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs.

Reanna Rudd, Huntington Beach, Jr.

The catcher went 2 for 3 with a double and home run to help the Oilers defeat fourth-seeded Grand Terrace 3-2 in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dana Hills softball sweeps Aliso Niguel to clinch at least a share of South Coast title

LAGUNA NIGUEL – Dana Hills’ softball team continued its determined play Friday night and completed one of the most impressive sweeps of the season to clinch at least a share of the South Coast League title.

Senior Terra Goetz allowed just one run and the No. 19 Dolphins supported her with 11 hits, alert base running and strong defense to complete a sweep of No. 9 Aliso Niguel with a 6-1 triumph at Niguel Hills Middle School.

Dana Hills (16-4-1, 6-1) also defeated the defending league champion Wolverines 4-2 on Tuesday. The Dolphins were even more impressive under the lights Friday, part of a fundraiser for Laguna Niguel Girls Softball.

They claimed their first league title since 2017 in the Sea View and first South Coast crown since 2004.

“I’m so proud of our team,” said Goetz, one of only two senior starters for Dana Hills. “Honestly, we were not sure how this year was going to go, losing 10 seniors, seven who started. … The freshmen and everyone stepped up.”

Dana Hills, slotted for Division 2 in the CIF-SS playoffs, scored three times in the fourth and three in the sixth against the BYU-bound Carley Brown of Division 1 Aliso Niguel (15-8, 4-2).

The Dolphins took advantage of error by Aliso Niguel in the fourth with timely hitting and aggressive base running.

With pinch-runner Jasmine Gallegos on first with one out, Dana Hills coach Brandon Cosenza set up the inning by calling for a hit-and-run with Sam Montero at the plate. The senior delivered a single and the Dolphins moved runners to second and third. Junior second baseman Lola Holtby followed with a go-ahead, two-run single to center to give Dana Hills a 2-1 lead.

After a single by junior Margo Hopper, Holtby tagged and scored from third base on a fly ball down the right field line for a 3-1 lead.

“Scrappy,” Holtby said of her team’s play. “We get on base, we score runs and we back up (Goetz) on defense.”

In the fifth, Dana Hills freshman center fielder Kaci Palmer showed her defensive skills by hauling a deep drive to center with two runners aboard to end a scoring threat.

Dana Hills scored three runs with two outs in the sixth. Leadoff batter Jackie Stilwell drove in one run with a bloop single and Palmer plated two more with a sharp single to center.

In the seventh, Holtby started a double play by snagging a liner. Dana Hills committed only one error.

“They’re a good team,” Goetz said of Aliso Niguel. “We just wanted it more than they did.”

Brown, a senior, finished with six strikeouts and no walks, but Holtby, Palmer, Montero, Stilwell and Hopper each had two hits apiece.

Goetz scattered nine hits and struck out two. Brown went 3 for 4 to pace the Wolverines’ offense.

Aliso Niguel took a 1-0 lead in the second as Amanda Johnston tripled with two outs and scored on a single by No. 9 batter Calista Zervakos.

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