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BILL ALKOFER, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Canyon's Paulina Anasis celebrates her team's 8-7 victory over El Modena on Tuesday. Canyon scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

Canyon finds way to stay in Crestview race for title

STAFF WRITER

When she got the sign from Coach Dan Hay, Canyon senior Brianna Betschel knew she was in for a 60-foot foot race with El Modena shortstop Becca Perez.

Moments after slicing a double down the left-field line, the Comanches speedster was on the move again, attempting to steal third base on a set play that had teammate Julia Schneider showing bunt moments before the delivery.

With a tremendous jump on the pitch, Betschel slid into third safely and advanced home when no one was on the other end of Molly Sturdivant’s throw to the bag, breaking the seventh-inning stalemate and giving No. 6 Canyon a thrilling 8-7 victory over No. 7 El Modena in a back-and-forth Crestview League battle Tuesday afternoon at Canyon High.

“You never know what’s going to happen when Canyon and El Modena play,” Hay said. “It really doesn’t matter who’s ranked and who isn’t ranked. It’s always a battle. Two great teams. What I consider two good coaches. And it always comes down to the last inning.”

With the win, the Comanches (19-7, 3-2) kept themselves alive in the Crestview League title picture, having previously lost to the Vanguards and Yorba Linda in the first round of league play.

“This team really had to search inside themselves,” explained Hay. “We feel we have a very good hitting team, and a top CIF team. And it wasn’t brain surgery, we didn’t put any runs on the board.”

Canyon has won four straight games since being shut out by the Mustangs two weeks ago. They’ve scored a total of 38 runs in those four outings, including eight Tuesday.

With the score tied 4-4 in the fifth, Quin Garant, Betschel and Paulina Anasis each provided crucial hits to give the Comanches a 7-4 lead.

The Vanguards (17-8, 3-2) fought their way back in the sixth inning, when Sturdivant blasted a three-run shot over the left-field fence.

Betschel’s one-out double in the seventh set the stage for the dramatic ending that has the Comanches energized going into Thursday’s game against Yorba Linda. The winner of that game will claim the league’s No. 1 seed for the postseason.

“This was crazy,” Betschel added. “Just a great game. Probably one of our best wins since we’ve been here at Canyon.”

Also in the Crestview League:

No. 9 Yorba Linda 3, Esperanza 0: Ciara Stapp struck out seven and allowed three hits for the Mustangs (16-6, 4-1).

In the Trinity League:

Rosary 5, No. 4 Mater Dei 4: The Royals scored a pair of runs in the sixth to pull off a come-from-behind victory that stopped the visiting Monarchs (19-9, 6-2) from clinching the outright league championship.

No. 10 Santa Margarita 9, JSerra 0: Senior Jayme Cone tossed a two-hit shut out and struck out 11 to keep the Eagles (18-7, 5-2) in contention for a split of the league title.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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