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Garden Grove's title bid comes up short
IRVINE – As the extra innings kept accumulating, it became clear neither Garden Grove nor Kaiser of Fontana deserved to lose the CIF-SS Division 4 softball title game.
Garden Grove hadn't been to the finals since 1990 and hadn't won a championship since 1985. Kaiser was playing in the finals for the second consecutive season.
But somebody had to win and it ended up being Kaiser, which has shown a flair for the dramatic in the postseason. The Cats pulled out a 1-0 triumph in 11 innings to claim their first CIF-SS Division 4 championship Friday night at Barber Park.
Kaiser needed 10 innings to defeat La Habra, 5-4, on a winning single by Crystal Cerpa in the semifinals Tuesday.
In this game, Kaiser's No.9 hitter, Alyssa Dilay, beat out an infield single to lead off the bottom of the 11th.
Danielle Jeffries sacrificed pinch-runner Rebecca Garcia to second and Jordyn Buffum moved her to third with a groundout.
Garden Grove pitcher Jasmine Antunez had been dominant all game, but a pitch got away from her, and Garcia scored the winning run on a wild pitch.
Both teams played flawless defense and got stellar performances out of their pitchers. Garden Grove had five hits off Cats ace Krystel Gabbard through 11 innings.
Kaiser had even fewer scoring opportunities with the way Antunez was pitching for Garden Grove.
Antunez struck out Kaiser leadoff hitter Jeffries with runners on second and third to end the fifth inning. Antunez retired 16 consecutive batters before giving up a one-out single to Linda Garcia in the 10th.
Garden Grove had its share of opportunities. The biggest squandered opportunity came in the top of the eighth when Antunez beat out an infield single with two outs. The second baseman was in the process of walking the ball back to the pitcher and Antunez stole second.
That brought San Diego State-commit Jenavee Peres to the plate. Peres had been the Argonauts hottest hitter in the playoffs. But Gabbard struck her out to end the threat.
Gabbard allowed five hits, walked two, hit one and struck out eight to go the distance and record the shutout.
Antunez allowed four hits, walked two and struck out eight to go the distance and take the loss.
Garcia had two of Kaiser's four hits. Antunez had two of Garden Grove's five hits.
Kaiser finished with a 23-8 record, while Garden Grove finished the season 23-6.
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