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STEVEN GEORGES , CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Orange Lutheran's Mackenzie Boesel and teammates will be among the county teams competing in the Alan Dugard Woodbridge Classic.

Teams still sweet on Dugard Woodbridge Classic

STAFF WRITER

The coaches and players have always been drawn to the tournament for its competition.

The umps, as legend has it, gravitated to it for the cookies.

“The story was that Coach (Alan) Dugard’s wife (Rosemary) would bake handmade cookies for all the umpires,” current Woodbridge softball coach Jerry Rose said. “It’s always been one of those tournaments everybody just wants to be at. Even the umps.”

Looking at this year’s collection of teams, the Alan Dugard Woodbridge Classic continues to be a desired destination for some of the area’s elite.

Four of the county’s top-10 teams - Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran, La Habra and Villa Park - headline the locals competing in the 24-team tournament that begins Saturday morning at Bill Barber Park in Irvine.

The tournament starts with eight pools of three teams, and every squad play two games on Saturday, which will seed the teams for the knockout stage. First-place finishers in each pool are placed in the gold bracket, second place in the silver bracket and third place in the bronze bracket.

Unlike most preseason tournaments, the Dugard Classic ensures all entrants five games. By breaking the tourney up into three eight-team brackets, teams can still compete for a bracket championship even if it has a down day on the first day.

“The longevity, quality of the fields, and the teams playing in it,” Rose said, when asked about the tournament’s appeal. “All the games are played at one central location. No other tournament does that.

“We centralize everything for coaches if they want to watch and scout other teams. And all these girls and their families know each other from travel ball, so it’s exciting because you can stay in one spot to see all the games.”

Edison, Fountain Valley, Brea Olinda, North Torrance and ML King of Riverside also make up the tournament’s strong core of teams.

Pool play games will be held Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m., with the final game slated for 7:30 p.m.

Bracket play begins Monday and the semifinals and finals will be played April 2.

NO TRIPLE CROWN

Mission Viejo made headlines last year by becoming the first team to win the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions, the Best of the West Tournament and the Michelle Carew Classic in the same season.

Los Alamitos captured the first leg of that trifecta when it won the Tournament of Champions in Arizona on March 12, but the Diablos made sure the Griffins wouldn’t match their feat this season.

Senior pitcher Hanna Nilsen tossed a four-hitter and Mission Viejo scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning to top the Griffins, 6-2, Saturday in the semifinals of the Best of the West.

The county’s two top-ranked teams played twice in a three-day span last week, splitting their two encounters.

TIMBERWOLF RECAP

Capistrano Valley finished second in the Timberwolf Classic on Saturday night, falling to Valley View of Moreno Valley in the championship game, 5-3.

Cougars senior Amanda Gjertsen went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles, a run and an RBI in the final. Gjertsen was named to the all-tournament team a day after earning the same recognition in the Saddleback Valley Tournament.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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