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VICTOR M. POSADAS , CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Capistrano Valley's Amanda Gjertsen, who is hitting close to .400, has helped the Cougars win nine consecutive games heading into Tuesday's league game against top-ranked Mission Viejo.

Capo Valley goes from stumbling to unstoppable

STAFF WRITER

Capistrano Valley softball coach Marc Kendrick knew he had plenty of talent on his team’s roster, but through the first month of the season, he wasn’t seeing the type of results he knew his team was capable of.

The Cougars stumbled out of the gate, going 4-8 in their first 12 games. As they headed into a doubleheader against Sonora on March 31, the team had lost three games in a row by a combined margin of 31-10.

Since that doubleheader, though, the Cougars have not lost a game.

“We finally came together,” Kendrick said. “We got off to a slow start, but we’ve been on the up and up. Our hitting, pitching and defense has all been good.”

The Cougars have the county’s second-longest winning streak, having reeled off nine consecutive victories.

During its run, Capo Valley won the Alan Dugard Woodbridge Classic on April 11, topping M.L. King of Riverside – the 2014 CIF-SS Division 1 runner-up – 3-0 in the championship final.

“That was a great victory overall,” Kendrick added. “I’ve preached to the girls that we have the talent to beat anybody we play.”

Jasmine Sievers, Ally Dickman and Amanda Gjertsen are all hitting close to .400 or better, and the team has received quality innings from Gjertsen, Delaney Hull and Jordan Quinn.

Capo Valley (13-8) will put its streak on the line today when it hosts top-ranked Mission Viejo in a South Coast League showdown. The Diablos have yet to lose a game this season, and currently sit at 19-0.

“They’re 4 miles from (our campus), so we know them well and they know us well,” Kendrick said. “This is definitely a measuring stick game for our program and it’ll be an indicator of who wins league.”

FREEWAY CLASH

La Habra and Sunny Hills both kicked off league play with a pair of wins last week, setting the stage for a pivotal matchup between the two today at La Habra High.

The Highlanders (13-6) rallied from a 2-0 deficit against Fullerton on Thursday to earn their fifth consecutive victory. Sophomore Janelle Rodriguez tossed four perfect innings of relief, struck out eight and drove in the go-ahead run in La Habra’s 5-2 come-from-behind effort.

Sunny Hills (11-8) topped Sonora and Buena Park last week by a combined 26-2 margin. The Lancers have four players hitting above .425 - Shay Knighten, Lauren Huerta, Val Romano and Ashley Moss.

Knighten, the team’s talented senior shortstop, is one of the area’s most versatile players and is among the county leaders in hits (26), doubles (7), runs (22) and average (.456). She signed to play at the University of Oklahoma next season.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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