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PREP EXTRA | Softball Preview

Goerl's Arm Helps Make Valley View the Team to Beat Again


High school softball coaches say any discussion of the top team in the Southland this season begins and ends with defending Division I champion Moreno Valley Valley View.

Mary Partida, Valley View's coach, is not so sure.

"We're good," she said, "but the bottom line is that on any given day, anybody can beat anybody."

Few defeat Valley View pitcher Keira Goerl.

Last season, the UCLA-bound senior went 23-1 as Valley View won the Southern Section Division I championship. Her only loss came against Moreno Valley.

Goerl, of course, is not the only dominating pitcher expected to carry her team to Southern and City Section championships.

Some of the teams to watch:

MORENO VALLEY VALLEY VIEW (1999 record: 29-2)--Goerl, regarded as one of the nation's best high school players, pitched a one-hit shutout in last year's Southern Section Division I final against Santa Ana Mater Dei in the Eagles' first championship-game appearance.

With all but four players back from last year's team, it probably won't be their last.

"I think we have a pretty darn good core of kids," Partida said. "They are great athletes and they are very focused."

Catcher Sarah Kammert, first baseman Katie Junge, second baseman Priscilla Lopez, third baseman Wendy Cummins, shortstop Blair Smith and outfielders Casey Smith, Stephanie Cranmer and Kimmie Tillery provide Goerl with outstanding support on defense and on offense.

SANTA ANA FOOTHILL (1999 record: 29-4)--A Division I quarterfinalist in 1999, Foothill features one of the best 1-2 pitching combinations in the Southland. Courtney Fossatti was 15-2 with a 0.20 earned-run average and Elizabeth Bendig was 12-1. Fossatti also batted .389. First baseman Kristen Mann, who hit .276 with 22 runs batted in, is the top offensive force for a school that has won nine consecutive Century League championships.

SANTA ANA MATER DEI (1999 record: 28-5)--The Monarchs, who lost to Valley View in last year's Division I final, could earn a rematch this season. Mater Dei, playing in the first-year Serra League, is led by pitcher Tia Bollinger (12-2, 0.28 ERA). Courtney Betley batted .407 last season. Shortstop Christina Clark, left fielder Jessica Young and catcher Jessica Gonzalez are other top players.

FOUNTAIN VALLEY (1999 record: 24-8)--The Barons have eight starters from last year's team that advanced to the Southern Section Division I semifinals. Natalie King (12-5, 0.46 ERA) is the top pitcher. The Barons also feature third baseman Tiffani Miller, shortstop/center fielder Jenny Doezle, outfielder Christina Skaggs and shortstop Nicole Rambis.

CAMARILLO (1999 record: 22-7)--Kathryn Nevard gave up only 46 hits in 154 innings last season when the Scorpions advanced to the Southern Section Division I quarterfinals. Nevard and outfielder Nicki Holt, who batted .423, could take Camarillo deeper into the playoffs this season.

DIAMOND BAR (1999 record: 26-3)--The Brahmas are intent about going deep into the playoffs after losing to Camarillo in the Southern Section Division I quarterfinals last season. Marcel Torres (14-1) is the top pitcher. Outfielder Porsha Finley led the team with 24 RBIs last season, and leadoff hitter Lauren Emanuel and second baseman Jeanette Hurtado also return. Shortstop Michelle Anunciation is the top newcomer.

CERRITOS (1999 record: 26-7)--The defending Southern Section Division II champions are led by senior left-hander Jessica van der Linden, a dominating presence in the circle and at the plate. Outfielders Julie Hoshizaki and Nichole Maddox, catcher Sara Winters and shortstop Lauren Johnson are some of the Dons' top players.

CORONA (1999 record: 24-5)--Pitcher Kristi DeVries leads the Panthers, who lost in the Southern Section Division II semifinals last year to Cerritos. Corona also has several other key players back, among them second baseman Karli Burneleit, third baseman Danielle Tucker and outfielders Julie Phillips and Chari Erambert.

FULLERTON ROSARY (1999 record: 23-9)--The Royals will be tested in Serra League play, but they should fare well with seven starters back from last season's team. Catcher Natalie Golda hit .413 with six homers, third baseman Samantha Jennings drove in 19 runs and outfielders Lauren McIntosh and Dana Kenney scored 24 and 17 runs, respectively. Juniors Mallory Anderson and Christa Arriaga are the top pitchers.

GARDEN GROVE PACIFICA (1999 record: 24-8)--The Mariners have reloaded after losing seven players from a team that won a third consecutive section title last year. Catcher Julie Jordan, shortstop Diana Barreras and third baseman Mallorie Lenn are returning veterans. Pitchers Jessica Marical, Casey Carter and Jennifer Williams are sophomores.

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