Coach takes heat for taunting O.C. team


There was some controversy in Santiago of Corona's 4-3 victory over second-seeded Pacifica in the CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinal on Thursday at Santiago High.

The Sharks rallied from a 3-0 deficit on back-to-back homers by Illinois State-bound Erin Rodriguez and Texas-bound Randel Leahy in the bottom of the fifth. Rodriguez hit a three-run shot, which was followed by Leahy's solo blast to take the lead.

Santiago coach John Perez turned toward Pacifica's dugout and made a slashing motion across his throat with his finger. Pacifica coach Mark Campbell was not happy with Perez's taunting antics.

"He has no business coaching high school softball," Campbell said of Perez. "If you talk to any one of the coaches in this conference or anyone that's dealt with him, he is a classless individual."

Perez said it was in response to what he, his assistant coaches and players witnessed during pregame warm-ups.

"They came out here and kicked dirt and spit on out banners," Perez told the Riverside Press Enterprise. "They disrespected our field, our team and the game before it even started."

Santiago plays at Edison in the semifinals on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m.

Taking a look at the CIF-SS softball playoffs:

• Edison is trying to reach the CIF-SS Division 1 finals for the first time in school history. Who is Edison's hottest hitter? Stanford-bound catcher Jessica Plaza, who is 6 for 10 with a double, three home runs, four RBIs and four runs in three playoff games. Edison ace Sammy Cordova, who has committed to Utah, has recorded three shutouts in the playoffs and she is 25-4 with a 0.68 ERA and 14 shutouts this season.

• Santiago of Corona ace Erica Romero, who has committed to Ohio State, is 9-6 with 2.04 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 99 innings. Santiago has won championships in 1998, 2004, 2006, and 2011 and reached the finals in 2009.

• Top-seeded Norco plays host to Vista Murrieta of Murrieta in the other Division 1 semifinal. Norco has won championships in 2003 and 2009. Vista Murrieta's only trip to the finals was in 2009.

• Michigan-bound Sierra Romero is batting .577 with a CIF-SS record 21 home runs this season for Vista Murrieta. Her 55 RBIs ties he for 10th on the CIF-SS season-record list. Norco's Nebraska-bound ace Emily Lockman has recorded 19 shutouts this season.

• La Habra hasn't been to the finals since 1982 and hasn't won a championship since 1981. Who is La Habra's hottest hitter? Sophomore Hope Moreno is 7 for 10 with four doubles, one homer, three RBIs and five runs in three playoff games.

• Garden Grove hasn't been to the finals since 1990. The Argos won a championship in 1985. Who are Garden Grove's hottest hitters? Cal State Fullerton-bound Jasmine Antunez is 7 for 11 with a double, a home run, two RBIs and five runs in the playoffs and San Diego State-commit Jenavee Peres is 7 for 10 with three doubles, one home run, four RBIs and three runs in three playoff games.

• The CIF-SS championships will be held on Friday and Saturday at Deanna Manning Stadium at Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park in Irvine.

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