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Section Pulls Rank on Eagles, Lancers

Softball: Calvary Chapel, Orange Lutheran are unseeded in playoffs despite top-four positions in Division V poll.

May 16, 2000|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Fate, or maybe the pairings committee, turned against Calvary Chapel and Orange Lutheran when brackets were released Monday for the Southern Section Division V softball playoffs.

Neither Calvary Chapel (14-8) nor Orange Lutheran (21-6-1) were seeded, though the Eagles had been ranked No. 3 in the division and the Lancers No. 4 only one week earlier. The teams played each other last week, and Calvary Chapel won, 2-1.

But Cerritos Whitney (13-3) and San Pedro Mary Star of the Sea (20-4) were moved ahead of both teams and seeded third and fourth in the playoff bracket.

"It's not the gospel, it's a guide," section administrator Karen Hellyer said of the section rankings. "My best guess is that there was a gap in the information in the poll, and when we had actual information [over the weekend], the final recommendations were made."

The reasons for the decision, Hellyer said, were 1-0 victories by Whitney and Mary Star over Calvary Chapel, and the Eagles finishing ahead of Orange Lutheran in the Olympic League.

"The committee as a group of 15 or 20 looked at the top 10 as a guidepost, then looked at the facts," Hellyer said.

Other facts: Calvary Chapel has been to the finals the last four years, and Orange Lutheran has seven starters back from last year's section semifinalist.

Here's a look at each division:

Division I--The defending champion is Moreno Valley Valley View, which defeated Mater Dei in last season's final, 5-0. Keira Goerl, now a senior, allowed only one hit, to Mater Dei's Casie Phillips. This year, Mater Dei is seeded No. 1, Valley View No. 2. . . . By winning a coin flip, Los Alamitos (18-8) was seeded fourth, instead of Fountain Valley (22-8). They were part of a three-way tie for the Sunset League title. . . . Fountain Valley and Foothill both lost in that Sunset League coin flip. The Barons must now beat third-seeded Foothill (28-2) for a third time this season to reach the semifinal. Those losses to the Barons are the only defeats this season for Foothill. . . . Six of the seven losses by Fountain Valley pitcher Natalie King have been 1-0. Six victories have been 1-0.

Division II--Defending champion Cerritos (26-2) has the division's dominant pitcher, Jessica van der Linden, whose only losses were 1-0 to Fountain Valley--on a home run by Baron catcher Kristin Crowder--and to Simi Valley, 1-0. Van der Linden walked nine and struck out 285 in 163 2/3 innings, with an earned-run average of 0.13. Only six opponents scored against Cerritos. . . . Troy's upset loss to Fullerton, 2-1, in the last game of the regular season denied the Warriors (19-7) their first softball league title since 1980. "I really would have liked Lindsey Knoff to get one before she graduated," Coach Marlon Buttram said. Knoff is 57-32 in her career and is largely responsible for the program's turnaround. . . . In Aliso Niguel's last two major victories, over Laguna Hills and Woodbridge, Kalena Petersen tripled home two runs and scored the winning run in 3-2 wins. Her timely hits came in the top of the first inning against Laguna Hills and the bottom of the seventh against Woodbridge.

Division III--Pacifica defeated Brea Olinda, 6-0, to win last year's section title. . . . The Mariners (20-8-1) will be matched in one of the best local games Friday when they play host to El Dorado (13-11-1). The third-place Golden Hawks were in first place in the Empire League going into the last week of the season. . . . Laguna Hills (18-9) scored five runs or more on 12 occasions. . . . Sonora (22-7) is seeded second, behind Hacienda Heights Wilson (23-2-1). Though on the road in the first round, Whittier La Serna (19-4) and Norco (16-8) are the other seeded teams.

Division IV--Defending champion Chaminade (14-12) could face Rosary in a quarterfinal. Pomona Catholic, the defending champion in Division V, has also moved into this division. . . . Rosary (21-8) is seeded No. 1, followed by North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (22-4), Lompoc Cabrillo (18-8) and Goleta Dos Pueblos (21-5). . . . Among Rosary's victims are Mater Dei and Valley View, the top two teams in Division I. . . . Rancho Alamitos (19-4) tied Pacifica for the Garden Grove League title. The Vaqueros have a solid pitcher, Kristina Hyllested, and a talented hitter, Jami Weddle, who has 41 RBIs. They could face Harvard-Westlake in the quarterfinal round. . . . Rancho Alamitos could face Western (17-7) in the second round. Western ended Brea Olinda's string of four consecutive Orange League championships. The Pioneers were 5-21 in Coach Ivy Pinkerton's first year, 9-16 in 1999 and 17-7 this season.

Division V--Calvary Chapel Coach Dave Rolph said last week he expected his team to play Orange Lutheran in the playoffs. "I think we're the two best teams in this division," he said. If that's to happen, it would be in the finals.

Division VI--It's hard to imagine a better hitting team than top-seeded Capistrano Valley Christian (20-2), which has four players batting more than .450--Tristan Fernandez, who is batting .620; her sister, Tiffany Fernandez, who is batting .615, Lauren Capriotti, who is batting .507, and Lindsay Fait, who is batting .459. CVC has already beaten second-seeded Temecula Linfield, 1-0.

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