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2015 Softball preview: O.C. top 10 teams
A breakdown of the top 10 teams in Orange County for the 2015 softball season.
O.C. TOP 10
1. Mission Viejo: The Diablos might boast the county’s best collection of talent, regardless of the sport. They have eight Division 1 committed players in their starting lineup, and if Bailey Roberson chose to play at the next level, it would be nine. With senior ace Taylor McQuillin back in the fold as well as power-hitting center fielder Alyssa Palomino, Mission Viejo is the clear cut favorite to repeat as champs in CIF-SS Division 2. This year’s team might be better than last year’s squad that went 26-1. Nothing is out of the question for the Diablos this season, including an undefeated season and a wire-to-wire spot atop the Orange County rankings.
2. Pacifica: The defending Division 1 champs graduated one of the best senior trios you’ll ever see in Kaylee Carlson, Nicole DeWitt and Brooke Marquez. Even with those three out of the picture, you’re crazy to think that the cupboard is empty out in Garden Grove. Faith Canfield, Dejah Mulipola and Irieanna Naea are All-County talents that can flat out rake. The real key will be in the circle where Hannah Boos steps into the spotlight as a promising sophomore hurler.
3. Canyon: It’s hard to pinpoint a single weakness on this Comanches team. Seven starters return from last season’s squad that advanced to the CIF semis. With five collegiate bound seniors leading this roster, there’s no reason to think Canyon won’t compete for the Division 1 crown this season.
4. Orange Lutheran: The Lancers’ infield in 2014 consisted of Maddy Dwyer (Trinity League Pitcher of the Year), catcher Noelle Hee (Trinity League MVP), third baseman Adrianna Millan, shortstop Mackenzie Boesel and second baseman Desiree Buboi (all first-team selections). Those five are all back this season and appear primed to make it back-to-back league titles. What they hope to improve upon is a crushing second-round playoff exit.
5. Los Alamitos: The only thing that matched the Griffins youth in 2014 was its potential. Coach Rob Weil’s squad is littered with Division 1 talent yet again this season, and it also welcomes back talented senior pitcher Katya Duvall from an ACL injury. With Duvall and sophomore Ryan Denhart locking down the circle, the Griffins are a scary matchup for anyone with a lineup full of capable bats.
6. Cypress: The Centurions fell just one run shy of playing for the Division 1 title a year ago. In order to get back to that point, Cypress will look to a quartet of seniors to re-capture some of last season’s magic. Pitcher Ashley Ross and catcher Kristyana Boghossian make up one of the better batteries in the area, while first baseman Sarah Hamre and outfielder Kacey Whitney add legitimate pop to the middle of that lineup.
7. Edison: Don’t sleep on the Chargers in the Sunset League. Junior Kiana Pancino has all the tools to develop into one of the county’s most-feared pitchers. When you factor in a lineup highlighted by Ali and Riley Wester, Edison will bounce back from a sub-.500 year and have some kind of a say in the race for a league title.
8. San Clemente: The Tritons had one major hiccup to start the season and that came against No. 1 Mission Viejo. Since that loss, San Clemente has responded with quality wins over Capistrano Valley (twice), Foothill, Marina and Huntington Beach. Seniors Lauren Kane and Kelsey Horton give the Tritons one of the best left sides of the infield in the area.
9. Huntington Beach: Kristina Inouye, Anna Kufta, Ivy Davis and Alyssa Horeczko each hit .345 or better a season ago with at least 29 base hits. The Oilers won’t have trouble scoring runs with all four players back this season. Horeczko’s full-time transition into the circle is what’s worth watching out in Huntington Beach.
10. Mater Dei: The Monarchs are another team that’ll consistently put runs up on the scoreboard. Seniors Morganne Flores and Melissa Rochford lead a veteran-laden squad that’s motivated after getting bounced in the first-round of the playoffs a season ago.
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