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SOUTHERN SECTION BASEBALL PLAYOFFS : DIVISION III : Irvine Shuts Out North Torrance

June 02, 1993|HEATHER STEVENS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

REDONDO BEACH — Irvine dashed North Torrance's hopes of reaching the Southern Section Division II softball final for the first time since 1979 with a 3-0 semifinal victory against the Saxons Tuesday at Redondo Union High School.

Irvine (26-5) will face Laguna Hills in the final at 5 p.m. Saturday at Mayfair Park in Lakewood.

North Torrance pitcher Tennille Sales singled and tripled, accounting for the Saxons' two hits. Sales walked Meaghan Woodruff to start the third inning. Woodruff reached second on a sacrifice by Amy Middleton, and went to third on a dropped third strike to Kim Fischer. Woodruff came home on a line drive by Rebecca Smith.

Sales tripled with one out in the fourth, but North Torrance could not capitalize; Michelle Johnson popped up, and Marlene Ramirez struck out.

Irvine Coach Lisa Baker said the near-score did not bother Irvine. "I don't think we were real stressed about that--we knew it wouldn't make a difference.

" (But) I get nervous every inning," Baker said.

Woodruff scored again in the fifth. Again, she walked, went to second on a wild pitch and reached third on a fielder's choice. Shye Nakabayashi singled Woodruff home.

With one out in the sixth, Monika Hollstein doubled and reached third on an error. Annette Smith drove her home, but was thrown out at first base.

"Irvine played real well, real consistently," North Torrance Coach Lynn Brooks said. "Nothing they did surprised us. They had good defense, good pitching, and we had a little trouble on defense." North Torrance made three errors.

Irvine is in a position to continue its playoff pattern of the '90s. In 1990, the Vaqueros lost in the first round. They won the championship in 1991, and lost in the first round last year. If the precedent is indeed set, they're due for a title.

Two facts reassure the Vaqueros: they beat Laguna Hills, 4-1, in the semifinals of the Laguna Hills tournament this season. And Mayfair park feels like home to Baker--it is the home softball field for Cal State Long Beach, where Baker played in college.

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