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Mission Viejo's Palomino hits 50th homer
ANAHEIM – The home run trot has become almost second nature for Mission Viejo star center fielder Alyssa Palomino.
Having already made the 240-foot round trip more than any other player in Orange County history, Palomino hit her 50th career homer on Friday afternoon, putting her in the company with some of the best power hitters in state history.
The senior slugger’s eighth home run of the season highlighted top-ranked Mission Viejo’s 7-0 win over No. 7 Cypress in the quarterfinals of the Michelle Carew Classic at Peralta Park.
Palomino is now tied with Lancaster’s Shawna Wright, who also hit 50 home runs between 2005-09, for second place on the CIF-Southern Section and state all-time lists.
According to CalHiSports.com, the CIF-SS record belongs to Baille Kirker of Crescenta Valley of La Crescenta (2006-09) who hit 53 homers. Kirker’s 53 is also good enough for a share of the state record, which is shared by two L.A. City Section players – Alia Williams (Crenshaw of Los Angeles, 2006-09) and Darian Tautalafua (Carson, 2009-12).
With Saturday’s Carew Classic semifinal, plus league play and playoffs still on the horizon, Palomino has plenty of time to set a new state mark.
“Coming into high school, I didn’t ever think I was going to do this,” a humbled Palomino said after the game. “I just go out and hit, and it happens.
“I’m grateful for it.”
Mission Viejo (15-0) will face Yucaipa in the semifinals today at 1 p.m. at Peralta Park, with the winner moving on to play the winner of the Canyon-Poway semfinal. The championship game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Peralta.
The Diablos looked unbeatable Friday, highlighted by the performance of ace Taylor McQuillin.
The senior southpaw no-hit a talented Cypress lineup, striking out 16, including eight of the last nine she faced. A second-inning walk to first baseman Sarah Hamre proved to be the only thing separating McQuillin from a perfect game.
“We had everything going,” Mission Viejo coach Troy Ybarra said. “We had offense, defense, pitching, catching, two-out hits. Two outs nobody on (in the third inning), we get three hits and score two runs. You can’t ask for anything more than that.
“Then of course, you throw a no-hitter, one walk shy of a perfect game. Unbelievable job by Taylor today.”
After a scoreless first two frames, Palomino spearheaded the Diablos’ two-out rally in the third, lining a triple down the right field line. Camryn Ybarra followed with a walk before Kayleen Shafer and Kyra Snyder each drove in a run with a pair of singles.
The Diablos doubled their lead in the fourth when McQuillin led off with a solo homer to right-center, and Terra McGowan added a solo shot to left-center to make it 4-0.
Palomino’s two-run homer in the sixth was icing on the cake of a nearly flawless performance from the county’s top-ranked squad.
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