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HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL

El Camino Real wins City Section softball title, beating Carson

Karyn Wright pitches a five-hitter in 5-0 victory that gets the Conquistadores their 14th City Section crown.

May 31, 2012|By Steve Galluzzo
  • El Camino Real pitcher Karyn Wright delivers during the Conquistadores' 5-0 victory over Carson in the City Section championship game at UCLA on Wednesday.
El Camino Real pitcher Karyn Wright delivers during the Conquistadores'… (Steve Galluzzo / For The…)

For the second year in a row, El Camino Real High pitcher Karyn Wright had tears in her eyes after the City Section softball championship game. Only this time, they were tears of joy.

The senior right-hander tossed a five-hitter with seven strikeouts as the second-seeded Conquistadores defeated Carson, 5-0, on Wednesday at UCLA, avenging last season's loss to Carson. El Camino Real won its 14th City title and first since 2005, when Wright's sister Kathryn played for the Conquistadores.

Karyn Wright's 90th career victory came against a fearsome Colts lineup led by senior shortstop Darian Tautalafua, who entered the game batting .490 with 17 home runs and 45 runs batted in, her 53 career homers tied for the most in state history with Crenshaw's Alia Williams. Tautalafua smacked a two-run double off Wright to spark Carson's comeback victory last season, but this time she was hitless and flied out to right field to end the game.

"We had success pitching her away last year and thought she'd expect the same thing, so we pitched her inside, which is where she likes it," Wright said of her strategy against Carson's slugger. "Sometimes you have to beat someone by pitching to their own strength."

In her first at-bat, Tautalafua was hit by a pitch and she admitted Wright's tactics caught her off guard.

"Last year she pitched me all outside and I was expecting her to stay mostly away again," said Tautalafua, who has signed with Long Beach State. "I was trying not to think about [the home run record] but it was hard not to because I knew this was my last game. I was swinging too hard and wasn't patient enough."

Brittany Moeai pitched a five-hitter with four strikeouts and four walks and did not allow a hit until McKenna Arriola's infield single with one out in the fifth inning. However, three errors proved to be the undoing of the top-seeded Colts (25-6). In the third inning, Cassandra Perez hit a hard grounder through the legs of Carson second baseman Brianna Tautalafua to score Natalie Winokur and Arriola and give El Camino Real a 2-0 lead.

In the third inning, Cassandra Perez hit a hard grounder through the legs of Carson second baseman Tautalafua to score Natalie Winokur and Arriola to give El Camino Real a 2-0 lead.

"I thought we were good enough to win last year, we just didn't make the plays," El Camino Real Coach Lori Chandler said. "This year it was all about dealing with adversity, being mentally tough, and we made the plays when we had to. Every kid should have at least one City title in this program so I'm glad these players got one."

After the Colts led off the fourth with back-to-back singles by Moeai and Angela Gonzalez, Hillary Edior hit into a fielder's choice, Jolynn Finlay struck out and Viri Ramos was hit by a pitch to load the bases for pinch-hitter Laura Herrera, who struck out swinging on a 3-2 count to end the threat.

"Carson didn't let me ease up for a second," Wright said. "I was thinking we needed a ground ball right there and just tried to live in the moment."

Arriola stole second and scored on Dayna DeBlasi's two-out single to center in the fifth, increasing the Conquistadores' lead to 3-0. They tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh when Emily Waterbury doubled to the right field wall to score Whitney West and Waterbury scored on Jasmin Joseph's infield single.

El Camino Real (27-5) needs two more titles to tie San Pedro's City Section record.

"Karyn and [catcher] Monica Silver did a great job against their lineup," Chandler said. "This feels great. We made six errors last year and three today, but fortunately they didn't cost us this time."

In the Invitational Division final, Precious Suarez singled to score Sabrina Delgado with the decisive run in the second inning and eighth-seeded Harbor City Narbonne held off 11th-seeded Maywood Academy, 4-3, for its third Invitational title in four years.

Stephanie Chacon's RBI single cut Narbonne's lead to one in the top of the seventh and Chacon stole second to move into scoring position with two outs, but Andrea Casillas lined out to shortstop to end the game.

Maywood Academy (16-4) scored twice in the top of the first inning, but Narbonne (9-11) answered with three runs in the bottom half. Senior first baseman Kristina Torrez doubled, tripled and scored a run for the Gauchos.

Freshman Nicolle Miranda pitched a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts and drove in two runs as San Pedro Port of Los Angeles blanked Wilmington Harbor Teacher Prep, 6-0, to win its second consecutive Small School title.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when Brianna Grayson tripled to drive in Kelsea Short and Miranda's bloop single scored Grayson to give the top-seeded Polar Bears (20-7) a 2-0 lead. They added four runs in the sixth when Adriana Vargas scored on a throwing error, Sarah Maldonado scored on a single by Short, Miranda drove in Short on a sacrifice fly and Allison Bayer hit an RBI triple.

Harbor Teacher Prep (12-14) was trying to avenge a pair of lopsided losses in Crosstown League play. Stacy Lepe broke up Miranda's no-hitter with a one-out single in the top of the seventh inning.

sports@latimes.com

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