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Late rally secures title for San Clemente

STAFF WRITER

The pace of the game was rapid, and just over an hour after its first at-bats, San Clemente found itself trailing by a run in the top of the seventh inning.

The Tritons’ seven, eight and nine batters were due up in a game with the league championship on the line.

Ashley Folia, Olivia Bradish and Kylie Pignone sparked a three-run San Clemente rally that allowed the Tritons to capture the Sea View League title with a 3-2 road victory over Laguna Hills on Wednesday afternoon.

“It feels absolutely great,” San Clemente coach Bill Malcolm said. “The girls did a good job; they gave me a few more gray hairs, but they did a real good job here today.”

In seizing their first league championship since 2012, the Tritons (19-5, 6-2) secured the Sea View League’s top seed in the Division 3 playoffs when the CIF-SS brackets are released on Monday afternoon.

The first six innings of the contest saw five base runners tossed out at the plate – three Laguna Hills players and two for San Clemente.

The Hawks (14-11, 5-3) held a one-run edge headed into the seventh, however, after Shannon Wasley drove in Alex Valencia with a single in the fourth.

Folia led off the seventh with a double to right-center field and was followed by Bradish’s single to center. Pignone – hitting in the nine hole – tied the score at 1-1 with a single to left field for the third straight hit of the inning, and bringing up the top of the order.

Sierra Garret’s infield single scored the go-ahead run and Mikaela Mak’shit to center added some insurance for pitcher Lauren Kane going into the bottom half of the inning.

“A lot of times they just know they have to hit in that situation,” Malcolm added.

Laguna Hills cut the deficit to a run in the bottom of the seventh, but Kane worked out of a bases-loaded jam, securing the league title for the Tritons.

In the Trinity League:

No. 5 Orange Lutheran 3, Rosary 1: Sophomore catcher Lauren Espalin drove in all three of the Lancers’ runs in a victory at Rosary. Espalin had a triple and two-run home run.

Orange Lutheran (24-3, 5-2) will play at Santa Margarita today, and the winner earns a split of the Trinity League title with Mater Dei.

In the North Hills League:

Villa Park 8, Brea Olinda 4: Amanda Beltran and Shayna Dahlen each homered as the Spartans closed out the regular season with a win over the Wildcats. Villa Park will enter the Division 2 playoffs as the North Hills’ league No. 2 representative.

In the Freeway League:

Sunny Hills 6, Troy 5: Ashley Moss doubled and later scored the winning run in the seventh as the Lancers claimed a share of the Freeway League title. Moss scored three runs while teammate Molly Grumbo finished with three RBI.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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