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Woodbridge Works Overtime for Win

June 08, 2003|Martin Henderson and Rafer Weigel | From Staff Reports

In the biggest game they had played, two freshmen stood 40 feet from each other in the bottom of the 10th inning and decided the Southern Section Division I softball championship.

Krista Seeman, the cleanup hitter for Irvine Woodbridge, won the battle of ninth-graders as she delivered a two-out, bases-loaded single off Sarah LaRue to give Woodbridge a 3-2 victory over Santa Ana Foothill on Saturday night at Barber Park in Irvine.

It was the fourth extra-inning victory in five playoff games for Woodbridge (27-8), which began the season 5-7. An even more unlikely finalist was Foothill (20-13), which began the season 5-11.

Both shared the Sea View League title, and though Woodbridge ended the season ranked No. 18 in the Southland by The Times and Foothill No. 24, both were unseeded in the playoffs.

The winning rally began with two outs, when Kendra Singley was safe on an error by shortstop Chelsea Cantillo. Singley took third on Melissa Haffner's single to right field, and then LaRue (17-5) hit Shauna Corso in the shoulder.

That brought Seeman to the plate.

"All I could think about was, 'I need a base hit,' " she said. "I told myself, "This is the last inning.' I told my pitcher before the inning, 'Let's win this thing.' "

And they did win, because Seeman, batting .374, delivered her team-high 27th run batted in, a hard shot up the middle.

However, the game wasn't quite over even after Seeman's drive cleared the infield because Foothill center fielder Caitlin Lowe, who tried out this week for the U.S. National team, made a perfect throw to second base attempting to get the forceout to end the inning.

Corso slid safely ahead of the throw to give Woodbridge its fifth championship and its first in Division I. The Warriors' last title-game appearance was in 1997, when they beat Santa Maria Righetti, 2-0, in Division II.

Winning pitcher Brittany Crouch (23-5) settled down after allowing a run in each of the first two innings on back-to-back singles by Cantillo and Jiliane Hartfiel in the first inning, and Lori Gilbert's home run in the second. Crouch allowed only two more hits over the final seven innings and retired 15 of the final 16 batters she faced. The senior struck out 11.

Woodbridge tied the score in the fourth inning. Corso and Seeman singled and moved up a base on a sacrifice. Corso scored on Kelly Cabana's single, and Seeman followed her home as right fielder Rishelle Gastelum mishandled the ball.

"I knew we'd come back," Woodbridge Coach Alan Dugard said. "Once we got two runs, I said this game's ours."

-- Martin Henderson

Westlake Village Oaks Christian 2, Mission Hills Alemany 0 -- Ashlee Freeman (22-2) pitched a three-hitter with nine strikeouts to lead the Lions to the Division IV final at Barber Park.

The victory was the 26th in a row for Oaks Christian (32-2) and helped avenge a defeat to Canoga Park Faith Baptist in the Division VI final last year.

The Lions scored in the fourth inning when Ashlee Veilleux led off with line-drive single to left. Julie Humphries' bunt advanced Veilleux, who then stole third. Two batters later, Tiffany Day hit a grounder to third baseman Prudence Kjonvedt, whose throw to first was low, allowing Veilleux to score.

Oaks Christian added another run in the fifth when Veilleux picked up the game's only RBI with a single that scored Shannon VanVorst, who had singled with two outs and then stole second base.

Kelli Rodriguez had two of the three hits for Alemany (15-9).

-- Rafer Weigel

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