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El Dorado Beats Kennedy for Division II Title

Prep softball: Watkins outpitches Turner and Golden Hawks score go-ahead run in sixth, then survive scare in seventh to win, 2-1.

June 02, 2002|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Placentia El Dorado on Saturday became one of the Southern Section's most unlikely softball champions.

Twice beaten in the Empire League by rival La Palma Kennedy, facing a pitcher who had shut them out twice and had allowed only one run in her previous 129 innings, the Golden Hawks found a way to defeat Kennedy, 2-1, for the Division II title at Barber Memorial Park in Irvine.

It is El Dorado's first championship since 1977, which was also its last appearance in a section final.

The victory was hard-earned for El Dorado (21-9). The Golden Hawks got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth inning with a 1-2-3 double play, scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out double by Heather Martin, and clinched the title when third baseman Kristi Durant speared a drive that would have scored the tying run.

Kennedy (24-6-1), ranked fifth in the state, had UCLA-bound Michelle Turner pitching, but sophomore Amanda Watkins (12-4) got the best of the pitching duel, including retiring Turner (23-5) for the last out with a runner on second base in the seventh.

Turner's smash down the third-base line was caught off the dirt by Durant, who threw the ball to first base. Umpires didn't rule whether Durant caught it or not--she said she did--but it was moot when Martin grabbed Durant's off-line throw and stepped on the bag ahead of Turner.

Kennedy beat El Dorado in league, 4-0 and 2-0.

"We're a different team than when we played them before, and we're becoming somewhat of a powerhouse," said Watkins, who gave up six hits, hit a batter and struck out one. "The mystique surrounding Michelle sometimes freezes teams."

Turner gave up seven hits and struck out five.

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