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Mission Viejo survives challenge from Los Alamitos
Everything about it screamed postseason thriller, except the date.
Featuring two of the top aces in the county, and two of the more potent lineups around, the top-ranked Mission Viejo and No. 4 Los Alamitos softball teams battled Thursday afternoon with nothing but pride on the line.
With the score tied and the bases loaded in the bottom half of the seventh inning, Diablos third baseman Camryn Ybarra singled to deep left field, scoring the winning run in a spirited 3-2 nonleague win over the visiting Griffins.
“It’s a great year for softball,” Mission Viejo coach Troy Ybarra said. “Everybody’s programs have matured and grown and are fighting. Of course I can say it’s a great game because we’re on the winning side of this one today.”
Los Alamitos (9-4) showed its ability early on, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first two innings.
Griffins leadoff hitter Jenna Holcomb opened the game with an infield single and later scored on a throwing error. Senior Sally Woolpert added to the early lead in the second inning when she hit a solo shot off Taylor McQuillin to right-center field.
Mission Viejo (9-0) battled back in the bottom of the third when Terra McGowan and Alyssa Palomino each singled off of Griffins pitcher Katya Duvall, and Kayleen Shafer drew a two-out walk to load the bases.
Down 0-2 in the count, Kyra Snyder sent a shot over Holcomb’s head in center field, driving in the tying runs on a ground-rule double.
McQuillin and Duvall kept things knotted at 2-2 headed into the seventh.
Woolpert led off the top half of the seventh with a walk and Holcomb followed with a bunt single to put runners on first and second with no outs. McQuillin responded with back-to-back strikeouts before walking Mary Iakopo to load the bases.
The Diablos southpaw worked her way out of the jam with her 14th strikeout of the afternoon, sitting down Alexa Schultz on a full count.
Sophomore Bella Loya doubled in the bottom half of the seventh and an infield single from McGowan put Diablos runners on first and third with two outs. Duvall walked Palomino to get to Ybarra, who was 0 for before digging into the box for the game’s final at-bat.
“These games really help you prepare down the road,” Troy Ybarra said. “They (the players) knew they were fighting. Did it mean anything? Yeah, it meant a lot to these kids. And it showed. Every game is a meaningful game.”
In a nonleague game:
No. 3 Orange Lutheran 16, Esperanza 2: Sophomore Maddy Dwyer tossed four scoreless innings and struck out 10, and also hit a pair of home runs for the Lancers (12-0). Mackenzie Boesel and Desiree Buboi also hit homers for Orange Lutheran, and Noelle Hee went 4-for-4.
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