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JOSH BARBER, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOG
Savanna pitcher Jezabelle Quintana, right, and teammates look ready to make another deep run in the CIF-SS playoffs.

Softball notes: Garden Grove, Savanna going strong

STAFF WRITER

Their preseason rankings were almost entirely reflective of last season’s accomplishments.

By finishing as runners-up in Division 5 and 6, respectively, Garden Grove and Savanna both started the year in the No. 2 spot in the first CIF-SS polls for 2016.

Fast forward 10 weeks, and the two lower division powers have showcased their staying power.

The Argonauts (15-7-1) and the Rebels (22-1-1) remain atop the CIF-SS rankings, and each appears ready to make another run at a championship.

While both teams have received superb overall play, each team does have a veteran who has stood out.

For Garden Grove it’s senior first baseman Alyssa Fernandez. She ranks first on the club in average (.449), runs (21) and homers (5), and is second in hits (24) and RBI (26). In her last three games, Fernandez has gone 6 for 11 and driven in eight runs.

For Savanna, senior shortstop Kristin Worley is 9 for 9 in the last three games. She has scored eight runs and driven in four during that span. Maybe most impressive, Worley has swiped nine bases in the last week and a half, giving her a county-leading 29 overall.

When playoff brackets are released, expect Garden Grove and Savanna to be among the favorites in Divisions 5 and 6.

CAREW CLASSIC TRIES AGAIN

Top-ranked Orange Lutheran and No. 6 Huntington Beach will square off in the championship game of the Michelle Carew Classic on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Canyon High.

Because of weather conditions and scheduling conflicts, this is the third different date the tournament final has been scheduled for.

The Lancers jumped to No. 1 in the county rankings this week after topping Mission Viejo, 6-2, on Friday with a walk-off grand slam from junior catcher Lauren Espalin. The victory advanced Orange Lutheran to the Carew finale.

Lancers coach Steve Miklos brought up an interesting point after the game when asked about playing the Oilers.

“Huntington Beach is a little bit different because they’re in our division, and we have a good chance of seeing them (in the postseason),” Miklos explained. “It’s kind of a different game. Getting that close to the playoffs, it gets a little different. What do you want to show them? What do they want to show us?”

Expect a game of chess, not checkers on Saturday afternoon.

VIKING QUEST

The best sub-.500 team in the county is Marina.

The Vikings are 10-13 overall, but in one of the county’s toughest leagues – the Sunset – Marina finds itself in the thick of the playoff conversation with a 4-2 clip.

Los Alamitos and Huntington Beach are one-two in the league standings, and Marina is right behind in third. The Vikings edged the Oilers, 5-3, on the road Thursday.

Junior pitcher Amber Baldwin earned the win, while Julia Carreon and Kayla Pemasa finished with two base hits apiece, and scored four of the team’s five runs.

With games against fourth-place Fountain Valley and fifth-place Edison on tap this week, a pair of wins could greatly bolster Marina’s chances of securing one of the Sunset League’s three guaranteed playoff spots.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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