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All-O.C. semifinals for Arizona's TOC

STAFF WRITER

An Orange County softball team is going to win what is probably the most competitive tournament on the West Coast.

That’s not a prediction, it’s a guarantee.

The four teams that made it to Saturday’s semifinals of the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions are from Orange County - top-ranked Pacifica, No. 2 Los Alamitos, No. 4 Mission Viejo and No. 6 Mater Dei.

That is an unexpected twist to the annual tournament that each spring draws top teams from several states to the event in Bullhead City, Ariz.

The semifinals, which will be played Saturday at 1:30 p.m., have Mission Viejo facing Mater Dei and Los Alamitos playing Pacifica. The champiosnhip game is at 8 p.m.

Mission Viejo (6-0) is the tournament’s two-time defending champion, but winning it a third consecutive year would be quite an accomplishment given that the Diablos no longer have standouts Alyssa Palomino and Taylor McQuillin.

The Diablos battled Lakewood for eight innings in the quaterfinals Friday afternoon before winning, 9-8, on Peyton Cody’s run-scoring sacrifice fly.

“The girls are playing so hard (and) with a lot of pride right now,” Mission Viejo coach Troy Ybarra said. “The energy level is very very high with this team.”

Mater Dei advanced to the semifinals by beating Gahr of Cerritos, 2-1, while Los Alamitos defeated Palos Verdes, 4-0, and Pacifica routed Perry (Ariz.), 13-1.

In the quarterfinals, junior pitcher Kyra Snyder earned the win in Mission Viejo’s 2-1 triumph over Chino. Solo homers from Bella Loya and Camryn Ybarra provided the run support.

Los Alamitos junior Paige Austin tossed a two-hitter in a 9-0 victory against Rio Rancho of New Mexico in the quarters.

TIMBERWOLF CLASSIC

Northwood’s Timberwolf Classic begins Saturday at Bill Barber Park in Irvine.

The 15-team tournament includes 12 local squads, including Cypress (5-0), Capistrano Valley (1-1), Dana Hills (3-2), Laguna Hills (4-1) and Esperanza (3-2).

The host Timberwolves (0-2) have a first-round bye.

Cypress, which is undefeated and coming off a first-place finish in its tournament last weekend, looks to continue its hot start when it takes on Woodbridge at 2 p.m. Paige Hallam, Maddy Byrd, Katie Arce and Jenelle Martinez are all hitting .435 or better through five games and have accounted for 15 extra-base hits.

Byrd and Olivia McWhorter boast earned-run averages lower than 1.00 in the circle.

The semifinal and championship action will also be held at Bill Barber Park next Saturday.

Dana Hills defeated Capistrano Valley, 9-1, to win last year’s title.

TOURNEY UPDATES

The Mark Takkinen Memorial Classic and the Saddleback Valley Tournament start Monday afternoon.

The Takkinen Classic is a first-year tournament named after Fullerton’s late softball coach, Mark Takkinen, who died in October.

The five-day, 16-team tournament includes eight county teams. Fullerton, Valencia, Troy, Garden Grove and Rosary serve as the host schools.

Also compting in the tournament are Bishop Amat of La Puente and Yucaipa, which defeated Mission Viejo last season in the CIF Division 2 title game.

All 12 teams in the Saddleback Valley tourney are local, including Capistrano Valley and Orange Lutheran, which were ranked in the Register’s season-opening top 10.

All of the tournaments’s games will be played at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Alicia Park in Mission Viejo. The championship game is Thursday at 6 p.m.

The Lancers (4-1) begin their tournament title defense against Trabuco Hills on Monday. Orange Lutheran topped San Clemente, 9-1, in last season’s final.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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