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O.C. all-stars defeat Inland Empire, 9-0
CHINO HILLS – The end result was a lopsided loss for the Inland Empire softball all-stars, but the final score wasn’t on the mind of the players when the last out was recorded.
Sure, Orange County dominated Wednesday night en route to a 9-0 victory, but there were smiles, laughs and hugs being shared by those who participated.
“It was a great feeling to put this jersey on one final time,” said Corona Santiago shortstop Nichole Fry. “I wish I could’ve done a little better and that we could’ve done better. At the end, we came together and just said, ‘Let’s have some fun.’”
It was the first time the game had a format of Orange County vs. Inland Empire. For the previous 11 years, it had been Riverside County against Orange County.
Orange County’s trio of Taylor McQuillin, Hailey Hilburn and Kayla Duvall were dominant throughout the evening, allowing only six hits while striking out 15.
Orange County grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning. Hilburn got her team on the board with a sacrifice fly, and Shay Knighten scored on a double steal. Orange County scored three more in the third inning to extend the lead to 5-0.
The Inland Empire missed a golden chance to stay in the game after Norco’s Abby Lockman led off the second inning with a single and Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos’ Ciera Schick followed with a ground-rule double. McQuillin, the star southpaw from Mission Viejo, rebounded and struck out the next three batters.
Orange County put the game out of reach in the fifth inning. Fullerton Rosary’s Kolby Romaine had an RBI double and Lauren Kane of San Clemente belted a three-run homer. Orange County has now won four consecutive games overall.
Lake Elsinore Lakeside infielder Cheyenne Smith was the lone player on the Inland Empire team to register two hits. Smith, who is head to New Mexico, bunted for a single her first time up and slapped a single to right her second time.
“Lakeside is a small school, so I wanted to come here and represent us well while playing against players these bigger schools,” Smith said.
Santiago’s Ashley Coleman and Riverside King’s Sydney Golden each pitched two scoreless inning for the I.E. team.
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