As showdowns go, it wasn't much, but Santa Ana Mater Dei's 5-1 nonleague softball victory Wednesday over visiting Camarillo did wonders for the Monarchs' morale.
Ranked sixth in the Southland by The Times, Mater Dei beat the No. 5 Scorpions (7-3) with clutch hitting and by breaking a trend. Unlike nine previous games, Mater Dei didn't fall behind -- but came close.
Arianna Cervantes gave up a single, a walk and hit a batter, but Brianna Santos (5-2) pitched the last 6 1/3 innings, scattering six hits, to earn the victory.
"We constantly fell behind earlier in the year," Coach Doug Myers said. "We showed a lot of character, but we got into a pattern of not doing the little things."
Mater Dei (8-4), which has struggled at the plate, scored three of its five runs with two outs.
Troy Van Blarcom, a kicker from Orange Lutheran, has received clearance from USC's admissions office and will enroll in the fall, his father said.
Ron Van Blarcom said he spoke to USC Coach Pete Carroll, who said the family would receive paperwork to be signed in the next few days.
Van Blarcom, who is coming off knee surgery, had committed to USC, but was unable to sign a letter of intent in February because of academic issues.
Van Blarcom is expected to compete for the kicking job with redshirt sophomore Mario Danelo.
-- Gary Klein