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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