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Etiwanda Collects Its First Title, 2-0


Etiwanda lost five of its first seven games this season, but the Eagles won five in a row in the playoffs and claimed the Southern Section Division I softball championship on Saturday at Barber Memorial Park in Irvine.

In winning their first title in the program's 18 years, the Eagles defeated second-seeded Dana Hills, 2-0, knocking off a team that had not won a league title since 1981 and had not gone past the second round of the playoffs.

"It means a lot for us personally, and for our school," said pitcher Jackie Rogers, who improved to 15-2. "To hang that banner in the gym is unbelievable--there are only three hanging in there."

Etiwanda (24-7) may be light in the banner department, but Saturday they were heavy on composure.

The Eagles didn't commit an error--they made only three in five playoff victories and defeated top-seeded Valencia in the quarterfinals--and always made the right play.

Dana Hills (25-8-1) made two errors in the decisive fifth inning, when Amber Spaulding's two-out single--her third hit of the game--drove home Sarah Kuramata with the first run. Rogers scored on an errant throw by center fielder Jessica Van Houten. Kuramata had reached on a fielder's choice and Rogers had walked.

Dana Hills Coach Margo Watkins said that when Spaulding stepped to the plate, "I thought about walking her momentarily, and maybe if the cleanup hitter wasn't coming up behind her, that might have been an option."

Orange Lutheran 2, Oak Park 0--Third-seeded Orange Lutheran didn't waste any time in winning its second consecutive section title, needing 66 minutes to add a Division IV championship to the Division V title it won last year. Sophomore Maggie Davidson (18-4) pitched a three-hitter for Orange Lutheran (27-6). She didn't walk a batter and struck out four.

She was backed by the clutch hitting of junior Shelly Meardy in the bottom of the fourth inning. After Jamie Adams drew a two-out walk and junior Lindsay Larson singled to right field, Meardy's chopper over third base scored Adams.

Orange Lutheran added an insurance run in the sixth inning as pinch-runner Karla Baer scored when pitcher Melissa Johnson dropped a pop-up by Larson. Kimmy Miklos--one of two senior starters--reached base on a fielder's choice.

Johnson (18-6) gave up four hits and struck out six for Oak Park, which began the season 10-10 but defeated top-seeded El Segundo in the second round en route to its first title game in 21 years.

Canoga Park Faith Baptist 2, Westlake Village Oaks Christian 0--Ivette Hernandez doubled in two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning off Ashlee Freeman, who hadn't pitched more than four innings in a game in two months because of arm problems, to give the second-seeded Contenders the Division VI title in their first trip to a final.

Freeman (12-2) allowed two hits through five innings but gave up four in the sixth. Jessica Velasquez and Amy Rudolph started the rally for Faith Baptist (24-5) with back-to-back singles.

Those runs were more than enough for the Utah-bound Hernandez (18-2), who gave up five hits, walked two and struck out seven, including Sara Radabaugh to end the game with runners at second and third. The top-seeded Lions finished 29-5.

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