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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Area Softball Notebook

April 04, 2001|DAVE DESMOND

Hart (10-1) plays Foothill (11-1) on Saturday in a Foothill tournament semifinal featuring nationally ranked teams.

Santa Ana Foothill, ranked No. 2 in the nation by Student Sports, has nine starters from a team that swept Hart, 7-1 and 8-0, last season in a nonleague doubleheader and won the Southern Section Division I championship.

Hart is ranked No. 10 in the nation.

"They're a machine," Hart Coach Cathy Giordano said of Foothill, which has four All-Americans, including Arizona-bound pitcher Courtney Fossatti. "They can be very intimidating. In order to beat them, you need errorless defense and good pitching. We can do that, but we'll see what happens."

Foothill is ranked No. 1 in the Southern Section Division II poll. Hart is No. 4.

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Highland, which has struggled offensively, added a key bat last week when outfielder Kelli Luce was cleared to play.

Luce, a three-year letterman at Canyon, transferred to Paraclete before switching to Highland. She batted .308 last season at Canyon.

In her first start, Luce had two hits in a High Desert tournament victory over Sultana, and Highland had a season-high eight hits.

"She's fast, she's smart, she gets around the bases quick and she's a good player," Highland Coach Glenda Potts said. "She came to us with the complete package."

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For the seventh season, Paraclete will host the Desert Diamond Classic, among the Southland's top tournaments for smaller schools.

But the Spirits (10-2) will not participate because the first day of the tournament is the same day as the school prom, Coach Margaret Neill said.

It was a tough decision for Neill to pull her team from its tournament, which runs April 28-May 5.

"I didn't want to be like one of those schools that calls and cancels, saying they don't have enough players to play," said Neill, who is Paraclete's athletic director.

Division V powers Paraclete and La Reina have built an intense rivalry through the tournament, splitting the previous six championships.

La Reina, defending section champion, is ranked No. 3 in the division, Paraclete No. 4.

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Glendale (4-7) is a different team when sophomore Heather Hamasaki (3-1) is pitching.

She tore a knee ligament during travel ball and underwent surgery Oct. 9. Through a rigorous rehabilitation program, Hamasaki was ready when high school practice began Feb. 12.

"She was ready and rarin' to go," Coach Kris Kohlmeier said. "You could tell she worked really hard."

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