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League battles move into the spotlight

STAFF WRITER

Last week was a relatively quiet one for Orange County softball as a majority of teams used their spring break week to recharge their batteries for the second half of the season.

With every league in the county starting or continuing league play this week, there are several interesting matchups. Here is a look at three showdowns involving top-10 teams that will have a major say in their league races.

No. 5 Pacifica at No. 6 Cypress, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.: The Mariners have owned the Empire League in recent seasons, winning the league crown in each of the past six seasons. Led by four-year letter winner Faith Canfield, this batch of Pacifica seniors has gone 33-3 in league since they were freshmen.

Two of those losses, however, have come against Cypress.

The Centurions pose the greatest threat to end the Mariners’ league title streak. They have one of the county’s best defensive teams surrounding Ashley Ross in the circle, and a lineup capable of scoring runs.

“We’re as ready as we’re going to be,” Centurions coach John Felicetti said. “I know (Pacifica) is the favorite, but I think this is our year.”

No. 8 Huntington Beach at No. 4 Los Alamitos, Thursday, 3:15 p.m. The Oilers and Griffins appear to be the class of the Sunset League.

The winner of Thursday’s matchup will jump to the forefront of what’s perennially one of the best softball leagues in the county.

Two of the county’s best middle infielders will be on display in this one. Los Alamitos’ Mary Iakopo and Huntington Beach’s Kristina Inouye are both All-County-level talents. The teams split their season series in 2014.

No. 2 Orange Lutheran vs. No. 9 Mater Dei, at Thornton Park, Friday, 3:15 p.m.: After Mission Viejo, no county team has been more impressive to this point than Orange Lutheran.

Six of the Lancers’ everyday starters are hitting above .400, including Mackenzie Boesel, who already has 30 hits and 30 RBI.

Mater Dei is no slouch when it comes to scoring runs. Priscilla Martinez, Neli Casares-Maher and Morganne Flores give the Monarchs a solid nucleus in the middle of their order.

DUGARD TOURNEY HONORS

Capistrano Valley sophomore Delaney Hull was named Most Valuable Player of the Alan Dugard/Woodbridge Classic on Saturday. Hull tossed a five-hit shutout in the Gold Division championship game.

Capo Valley’s Ally Dickman, Jasmine Sievers and Jaqlyn Newhouser also were named all-tournament.

Other county all-tournament selections: El Modena’s Molly Sturdivant and Cameryn O’Grady, Rosary’s Kolby Romaine and Caroline Dame, Mater Dei’s Morganne Flores, La Habra’s Racquel Manzo, Brea Olinda’s Nine Del Rio, and Edison’s McKenna Doose (Edison).

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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