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McQuillin shuts down Mission Viejo nemesis
MISSION VIEJO — Just about all season Mission Viejo has been the best softball team in the South Coast League, save for the seventh inning of its meeting with Tesoro two weeks ago when the Titans rallied from a two-run deficit. The Diablos had a few players ill that day while suffering their lone league defeat to the team they call their nemesis.
Mission Viejo didn’t bring any excuses to Monday’s home rematch, just its bats, gloves and freshman sensation Taylor McQuillin, who has pitched every inning of every game this season. It’s not hard to see why.
McQuillin struck out 12 and allowed only three hits as Mission Viejo beat Tesoro, 15-0, clinching a share of its third-consecutive league title.
“Taylor did a phenomenal job,” Mission Viejo coach Troy Ybarra said. “She was hitting her spots and working ahead in the count. She just gets stronger and stronger and stronger. We couldn’t ask for anything more than what she’s already doing.”
Mission Viejo (20-5-1, 6-1) will get the league’s first playoff bid and can claim an outright league title with an El Toro loss, or a victory in its regular season finale at Trabuco Hills on Wednesday. It was the most lopsided contest of the season for the Diablos, who are ranked No. 6 in the county and No. 1 in the CIF-SS Division 2 poll.
“Good offense, defense, pitching, catching, base running, all the way around it was a complete game,” Ybarra said.
The afternoon started with Ybarra honoring every senior on both teams while jokingly calling Tesoro “the Yankees.” But that’s about as dramatic as it got.
Mission Viejo scored three runs in each of the first two innings. Diablos catcher Tayler Ybarra, third baseman Sarah Higa and first baseman Alyssa Palamino added home runs to extend the rout. Mission Viejo had 19 hits, including eight extra base hits.
“We talked about 2-0 swings,” Ybarra said. “No matter what the count is, we want offense. We teach offense here, not a defensive swing, not to protect the plate. Today the bats came alive.
Tesoro (10-14, 4-3) was eliminated from the league title race but is guaranteed a playoff berth by virtue of finishing among the top three teams.