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La Reina Finish Earns Crown

May 12, 2000|MITCH POLIN

For a few moments, the aura of invincibility for La Reina High was in jeopardy.

But La Reina, ranked No. 1 in the Southern Section Division V poll, scored two runs in the sixth and held on for a 2-1 victory Thursday at Valley View Park in Oak Park to clinch its 11th Tri-Valley League title in 12 years.

The victory was the 15th in a row for the Regents (19-4, 10-0 in league), who handed Oak Park (14-9, 8-2) its other league loss, 1-0.

Oak Park outhit the Regents, 6-2, and sophomore Michelle Johnson outpitched her counterpart, Kristen Ward (11-4). Johnson (7-5) pitched a two-hitter and finished with eight strikeouts.

Coach Roger Newell of Oak Park was understandably cautious when his team took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on a single by Dana Porter. It was the first run La Reina allowed in league play this season.

"We scored in the fourth and that's a long time for that team," Newell said. "They are just so potent."

The Regents scored twice in the sixth despite only one hit. Ward drove in the tying run on a single and took second on the throw home. After a wild pitch by Johnson, Ward scored the go-ahead run on a ground out by Jenny Ortez.

The Eagles mounted a two-out rally in the seventh. But with runners on first and second, Nicole Purkey was called out for runner's interference when she ran into shortstop Monica Thompson on a grounder by Jannel Buckley.

After a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Paraclete to win the Desert Diamond Classic last week, Coach Don Hyatt of La Reina said his team is gaining momentum for the playoffs, which begin next week.

"That's twice in a row against good opponents, so that's a very good sign," he said.

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