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High Schools | COACH OF THE YEAR

El Dorado's Wong Knows the Value of a Late-Season Charge

June 20, 2002|Martin Henderson

When it came to coaching high school softball in Southern California this year, Melissa Wong's results were a little better than most.

A second-year coach at Placentia El Dorado, Wong has been selected The Times' softball coach of the year primarily because of her late-season push that helped the Golden Hawks win the Southern Section Division II championship, their first since 1977.

El Dorado tied for second with two other teams in the Empire League. However, Wong did what coaches are supposed to do--get her team to peak at the right time, with sophomore pitcher Amanda Watkins and gritty senior third baseman Kristi Durant leading the way during the playoffs.

El Dorado (21-9) took the title in the section's toughest division, winning the last three games against then-ranked teams: 2-1 over No. 2 Santa Ana Foothill in 11 innings, 3-0 over No. 7 Whittier California and 2-1 over No. 9 La Palma Kennedy.

By beating Kennedy, the Golden Hawks avenged two shutout losses to their league champion.

And they did it without a player earning all-region honors. Team of the year? Absolutely. Coach of the year? Definitely.

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