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High Schools | SOUTHERN SECTION SOFTBALL FINALS

King Finds a Way to Win Crown

June 01, 2002|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Nothing came easy for Riverside King on Friday night. Getting an out was tough and so was getting runs. But somehow, some way, the third-year school found a way and defeated second-seeded Orange El Modena, 2-1, in eight innings to win its first Southern Section Division III championship, Friday at Barber Memorial Park in Irvine.

The winning pitcher, Notre Dame-bound Heather Booth (19-1), made big pitch after big pitch and survived with a defense that made five errors behind her. Booth and Co. stranded 11 El Modena runners.

To win the title, fourth-seeded King defeated top-seeded Pacifica in the semifinals before knocking off El Modena--both are ranked in the state's top 20.

"We don't look at them as [No.] 1 and 2 seeds, we just focus on ourselves," said Coach Jennifer McNatt. "We knew they were going to run, we knew they were going to bunt. We prepared for a good team, and made ourselves better. But was the road tough? Absolutely."

This is only the second year of varsity play for King, but McNatt said the program wasn't ahead of schedule.

"When we first opened with freshmen and sophomores, we knew we had something real special with the girls that came in," McNatt said. "What we lacked last year was that calm maturity."

King, which left nine runners on base, took a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning by taking advantage of an error and, two outs later, with Anna Beardman on third base, a run-scoring single into the hole at shortstop by junior Heather Gutterud.

King (27-2) took the lead in the third inning when Beardman singled and took second on a throw home that nailed Holly Ervin for the second out of the inning. Hollee Haines followed with an RBI single.

El Modena (28-6) tied the score in the bottom of the seventh inning after leadoff batter Norrelle Dickson bunted for a single, the Vanguards' third hit of the game. She took second on a ground out and scored on sophomore Ariana Munoz's line single.

"That happens," said Booth, who retired the side in order in the eighth inning, including her sixth strikeout to end the game. "I think everyone took a bunch of deep breaths."

Pomona Catholic 2, Covina Western Christian 0--Shortstop Kelley Silagyi, center fielder Amanda Frost and catcher Stefanie Zamorano, who won a section title as freshmen in 1999, won the Division V title with the help of their youngest teammates.

Freshman Amanda Addie singled with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning and sophomore Kymberly Silagyi, Kelley's sister, hit a ground-rule double for the only run needed by the unseeded Pacers (23-5), who will have six starters back next season.

Addie (22-5), the winning pitcher, struck out five and scattered six hits, four of them with two outs. She got an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Briana Thomas, who reached base on an error and stole second, scored on Vanessa Lavendera's single to left field. Western Christian ends 20-10-1.

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