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El Modena finds its groove

STAFF WRITER

The 24-team Alan Dugard Woodbridge Classic began Saturday at Bill Barber Park in Irvine, and five local teams qualified for the quarterfinals of the tournament’s Gold Division.

On Monday, El Modena became the first team to advance to the semifinals by topping Brea Olinda, 6-5, in extra innings.

While most county teams have had - or are in the midst of - a week away from the diamond, El Modena (10-4) has been consistent in its scheduling, having no more than five days off since the season began.

“It’s a good tournament because it falls at a good time where spring break is in relation to the start of league,” Vanguards coach Steve Harrington said of the Dugard Classic. “For us, we never want to lose our rhythm.”

El Modena appears to have found its its groove recently, winning four straight games by a combined margin of 35-6. In pool play of the Dugard Classic, the Vanguards topped Fountain Valley, 8-0, before blanking Garden Grove, 7-0.

Senior pitcher Marina Marzolino tossed a perfect game against the Argonauts, highlighting a 2-0 weekend that gave El Modena the No. 1 seed in the Gold Division bracket.

Do-it-all senior Rebecca Perez has flashed her versatility in the recent weeks, starting at catcher, shortstop, third base and outfield.

“She’s been a heck of a surprise for us,” Harrington said of Perez. “She’s playing dynamite softball all over the ball field. Just a stellar defensive catalyst.”

The semifinals for the Dugard Classic will be Saturday at Bill Barber Park in Irvine at 3 p.m. The championship game will start at 7:30 p.m.

CAREW CLASSIC AWARDS

Five Mission Viejo players were named to the Michelle Carew Classic All-Tournament team over the weekend. Taylor McQuillin earned Most Valuable Pitcher honors, while Alyssa Palomino was named the tourney’s Most Valuable Player. Allison Harvey, Terra McGowan and Kayleen Shafer were also honored.

Other county players included on the all-tournament team were Brianna Betschel and Hailey Hilburn of Canyon, Ashley Ross of Cypress, Dominique Espinoza of Pacifica and Haeley Tran of Aliso Niguel.

MASHING MATADORS

In what will probably be one of the highest scoring games of the season, Bolsa Grande outslugged Laguna Beach, 34-15, in a nonleague showdown last week. The Matadors finished with 20 hits and had innings where it scored 13, nine and 11 runs.

Freshman Elyssa Lopez led the charge, going 4 for 6 at the plate while scoring four runs and driving in three. Alena Guidangen, Ryanna Kim and Kayleen Rodriguez all had three hits and collectively scored 12 runs.

After starting the year 0-4, the Matadors have reached the .500 mark, winning five of their last six games. Bolsa Grande has scored at least 13 runs in all of its wins, but in each of their losses, it has allowed at least 14 runs.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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