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, GREG ANDERSEN, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Mater Dei pitcher Gabby Sandoval, left, and teammates celebrated last month after they beat Orange Lutheran, 2-1. The teams meet again Tuesday with first place in the Trinity League on the line.

Softball schedule loaded with top-two battles

STAFF WRITER

When breaking down this week’s softball schedule, the theme for the week is pretty evident: one versus two.

The first- and second-place teams in 11 leagues will play one another over the next several days as the battle for league titles and playoff positioning heats up with the end of the regular season on May 15.

“You want to set yourself up for the best opportunity as we get into CIF,” Mater Dei coach Tia Meza said after her team’s win over Santa Margarita on Friday. “It’s a matter of taking it one game at a time.”

The fifth-ranked Monarchs are one of the many teams playing in a high-profile showdown this week. They’ll travel to play No. 4 Orange Lutheran on Tuesday with first place in the Trinity League on the line.

Other top-10 league clashes taking place this week include Los Alamitos traveling to take on Huntington Beach on Tuesday in the Sunset League, while Mission Viejo will host Capistrano Valley on Thursday afternoon in the South Coast League.

The Academy, Crestview, Freeway, Golden West, North Hills, Orange, Orange Coast and Pacific Coast leagues will also pit their top two teams against one another.

SEA VIEW MADNESS

Of all the league races in the county, the most competitive one appears to be the Sea View League.

Tesoro, Trabuco Hills, Laguna Hills and San Clemente could all potentially claim the league title outright, setting the stage for an intriguing final two weeks.

The Titans (12-8-1, 4-1) avenged their lone league loss to Laguna Hills this past Thursday, topping the Hawks, 3-0, to take sole possession of first place with three games left to play. Senior hurler Kalee Smith tossed 14 shutout innings last week and struck out 13 in wins over San Juan Hills and Laguna Hills.

Tesoro travels to take on San Clemente (15-5, 2-2) on Tuesday in what has developed into one of the league’s top rivalry games.

CHAMPIONSHIP DATES

The CIF-Southern Section released its championship schedule for all the spring sports last week.

The softball pairings will be released May 18 by 2 p.m. The postseason will be played out over the course of three weeks this year.

Championship games for all division will be held June 5-6 at Bill Barber Park in Irvine.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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