|OCVarsity Softball Dugout: Michelle Carew Classic preview|
Jonathan Khamis and softball beat writer Kenny Connolly break down the Michelle Carew Classic. Can Pacifica three-peat? Also, can Edison win the Woodbridge Softball Classic? Video by Jonathan Khamis, OCVarsity.com.
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Softball notes: Carew Classic highlights schedule
Annually regarded as one of the most-loaded softball showcases on the West Coast, the Michelle Carew Classic begins Wednesday morning at Peralta Park in Anaheim.
No. 2 Pacifica highlights a 32-team field that is overflowing with talent. The Mariners are the two-time defending tournament champions, having defeated Yorba Linda in the final a season ago.
The fifth-ranked Mustangs are also back in this year’s field along with fellow top-10 county teams Esperanza (No. 3) and Canyon (No. 9).
“All the great players come through here,” said tournament director and former Canyon coach Lance Eddy. “I watch the College Softball World Series, and I’m always seeing girls who played at the Carew Classic when they were in high school. That’s what’s so fun about it — you see so many great players.”
While not local, Johanna Grauer of Amador Valley in Pleasanton is a player in this year’s tournament to keep an eye on. The UCLA commit was named California’s junior of the year in 2013 after posting a 22-2 record to go along with 274 strikeouts and a 0.08 ERA.
Amador Valley is 7-0 this season with Grauer winning every game in the circle. The senior is averaging more than 11 strikeouts a game, and she has yet to surrender an earned run.
No county school would see Amador Valley until Friday’s third-round games. If Amador Valley were to advance, either Kennedy or Canyon could have a shot at Grauer and the Dons.
Esperanza against Pacifica is another intriguing third-round matchup that could come to fruition if both teams win Wednesday and Thursday.
The Carew Classic wraps up Saturday evening. Semifinal games are set for 1 p.m., and the championship finale starts at 7:30 p.m. The semifinals and final will be played at Peralta Park.
• Minus the local schools playing in the Carew and Woodbridge Classics this week, league play officially begins today for the remainder of the county. ...
• The Trinity League opener between No. 6 Mater Dei and Santa Margarita highlights today’s slate of games.
The Monarchs dropped three straight last week — to North Torrance, Marina and Capistrano Valley — before getting a win over Fountain Valley on Saturday.
Santa Margarita (12-4) has won five in a row and would love nothing more than to pull off the upset to open league. Sarah Cwiertnia (.528 average) and Jenna Cone (.531 average) need to produce for Santa Margarita to top the Monarchs. ...
• Another Trinity League school to keep an eye on is JSerra. The Lions have a 7-6 overall record, but they erupted at the plate last week.
JSerra scored 32 runs in a win over Laguna Beach on Thursday. Kaitlyn Reis went 5 for 5 in the win, with a solo home run and a grand slam. She finished the game with 10 RBI. ...
• On Thursday, No. 7 Dana Hills (10-3) will host top-ranked Mission Viejo (13-0) in a South Coast League battle.
The Diablos have looked unstoppable in nonleague games, but the Dolphins have found their form. Dana Hills has won four straight over quality opponents (Aliso Niguel, No. 3 Esperanza, No. 8 Huntington Beach and Edison).
Mission Viejo has not taken the field last since this past Wednesday when it defeated Los Alamitos, 5-0.
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