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High Schools | SOUTHERN SECTION SOFTBALL SEMIFINALS

There's No Stopping El Dorado

June 01, 2005|Martin Henderson, Lauren Peterson | From Times Staff Reports

Two senior starters quit before the start of league play, the coach was arrested and replaced, and the catcher got too sick to play in the semifinal on Tuesday.

But adversity is a way of life for this year's squad at Placentia El Dorado, where not even a three-run deficit could prevent the top-seeded Golden Hawks from getting to the Southern Section Division II title game with a 4-3 semifinal victory at Rancho Cucamonga.

It's the third come-from-behind victory in the playoffs for El Dorado (24-2-1), which stranded 10 runners and didn't drive in a run with a hit.

Kayla Van Dieren, who had a bunt single, scored the winning run on Neena Bryant's sacrifice fly in foul territory down the right-field line. Van Dieren advanced on to third on a throwing error.

It took a while for sophomore pitcher Alyssa Freight and junior catcher Jennifer Vasquez -- a second baseman who made her high school catching debut on Tuesday -- to get in sync.

Rancho Cucamonga (24-4) had five hits in the first three innings, including a leadoff single by Sheila Holguin and two-run homer by Vernae Sevilla in the first inning, and a run-scoring single by Adrienne Monka with two outs in the third. But Monka's hit was the last over the final 4 1/3 innings.

"Our pitcher settled in, she could have given up," said Coach Melissa Chavez, who coached El Dorado to a Division II title in 2002 and then resigned to begin a family.

El Dorado scored once in the fourth and, without benefit of a hit, twice in the fifth with two walks and two errors.

"We have a lot of heart," said Freight (21-2), who struck out six, walked two and hit one. "That stuff doesn't bring us down. It makes us stronger.

"We don't take it on the field."

Martin Henderson

*

Chino Hills 4, Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula 0 -- Erika Girard hit a grand slam with one out in the top of the fourth inning to give the unseeded Huskies (22-7) their third consecutive upset in the Division II playoffs.

The loss ended a 13-game winning streak for second-seeded Peninsula (23-4).

Chino Hills, the second-place team from the Sierra League, finished with seven hits and also clamped down defensively.

In the sixth inning, Peninsula senior Michele Astiazaran reached on a single, advanced to second on a passed ball and was thrown out at the plate while trying to score on a two-out hit to right field by Monica Alnes.

Jennifer Klinkert had hits in the first and sixth innings and Bailey Blazek added singles in the fifth and seventh for Chino Hills, which earlier upset third-seeded Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon and South Coast League champion Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley.

Carissa Bronson (22-7) threw a four-hitter to earn the victory.

Alnes (21-4), a senior right-hander, struck out two and walked one in a seven-hitter for Peninsula. She also had a fourth-inning double.

Lauren Peterson

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