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Mission Viejo captures Carew Classic title
ANAHEIM – Tournament director Lance Eddy likened it to capturing the Triple Crown in horse racing at the onset of the week’s showcase.
Within the last month, top-ranked Mission Viejo had prevailed at both the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions and the Best of the West Tournament – two of the highest-profile tourneys the West Coast has to offer.
All that was left for the Diablos to conquer was the Belmont Stakes, or in this instance, the Michelle Carew Classic.
With the score tied headed into the seventh, Mission Viejo tacked on four runs in the top half of the inning to cap an unprecedented preseason schedule with a 5-1 win over Poway High in the championship game of the Carew Classic Saturday night at Peralta Park.
“I think our team was completely capable of doing so,” senior ace Taylor McQuillin said of winning all three major tournaments. “That’s what we came out here to do. We always come out to win. We’re not going to shut down because we’ve already won. We’re going to keep winning.”
The Diablos finished the preseason portion of their schedule with a perfect 17-0 record and have just more than a week off before they open South Coast League play against Dana Hills on April 14.
“Day in and day out, these games are amazing and competitive,” Coach Troy Ybarra said. “Everybody’s just wanting to win and they’re bringing their best out here. It’s respecting the sport and I love it.”
Mission Viejo qualified for Saturday night’s title game with a come-from behind victory earlier in the day against Yucaipa in the semifinals. The Diablos scored two runs in its final at-bats to come away with a 3-2 victory, and they repeated the same feat hours later against Poway (14-4).
With the score tied 1-1 in the top of the seventh, senior Bailey Roberson was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Alyssa Palomino followed with a double to the right-field fence, putting runners on second and third with no outs.
Camryn Ybarra, Kayleen Shafer and Kyra Snyder each followed with RBI singles, and Allison Harvey’s sacrifice fly also brought in a run. Within a matter of minutes, Mission Viejo had jumped to a 5-1 advantage.
“It has been happening and we want it to continue to happen,” Ybarra said of his team’s ability to respond under pressure. “We don’t want it to be a fluke. We had runners in scoring position in almost every inning but we couldn’t get that big hit. And we strung all those big hits in a row in one inning.”
McQuillin struck out 14 and scattered just six hits.
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