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Previews: Saturday's softball championship games

STAFF WRITER

CIF-SS CHAMPIONSHIPS

DIVISION 1

MATER DEI (26-7) VS. ORANGE LUTHERAN (30-3)

Where, when: Bill Barber Park, Irvine, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Fan info: General admission, $10; students w/school ID and children (5-13), $5; parking, free.

Outlook: Round four, anyone? The Monarchs and Lancers are as familiar with each other as two teams can be, having met three times this season. Orange Lutheran takes an 18-game winning streak into the final, and two of those victories were against Mater Dei, by eight and 11 runs, respectively. The last team to beat the top-ranked Lancers? That was Mater Dei on April 2 in the Alan Dugard Woodbridge Classic by a 6-0 score. That victory took place at Bill Barber Park, the location of Saturday’s game. Orange Lutheran junior ace Maddy Dwyer tossed a two-hit shutout against Los Alamitos in the semifinals Tuesday, but no pitcher has been better in the postseason than Mater Dei’s Gabby Sandoval. The senior right-hander has not allowed an earned run while the Monarchs have defeated four league champs in the playoffs. Sandoval pitched a one-hit shutout against defending Division 1 champ Norco in the semifinals. Mater Dei has won three one-run games in the postseason, while Orange Lutheran has outscored its opponents, 35-8. Sandoval will likely need more run support from Priscilla Martinez and Co. against a loaded Lancers lineup that is led by Mackenzie Boesel and Ciara Briggs. Does the best team over the final two months of the season prevail, or will it be the club that has caught fire these past two weeks that hoists the trophy? One thing is certain: In rivalry games, just about anything can happen.

DIVISION 6

SAVANNA (30-2-1) VS. PARACLETE OF LANCASTER (27-0)

Where, when: Bill Barber Park, Irvine, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Fan info: General admission, $10; students w/school ID and children (5-13), $5; parking, free.

Outlook: This is the rematch Savanna has craved since the end of last season. For the second consecutive year, the Rebels and Spirits meet in the Division 6 final. Both squads steamrolled their way back to the championship game. Paraclete enters the weekend with a 47-game win streak and has all but two players back from last year’s title-winning squad. Senior pitcher Kailla Searcy kept Savanna’s potent lineup in check last June, and she’ll try to duplicate that effort when she starts in the circle Saturday. Rebels junior ace Shyanne Fennel has tossed three consecutive shutouts and has surrendered one run in the postseason, while Savanna has outscored its four opponents, 51-1. Marisa Meza has belted four home runs and driven in nine RBI over the last three games, while Kristin Worley continues to put forth one of the best offensive seasons in Southern Section history. The senior shortstop has 10 hits in her last 11 at-bats, scored 10 runs, driven in three and stolen seven bases during that stretch. Worley is the catalyst for Savanna’s lineup, and she could be the key to the Rebels possibly winning their first CIF-SS title Saturday.

KENNY CONNOLLY

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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