High School Softball Preview

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CARMEL VALLEY — The anticipated matchup between the top-rated softball teams in the CIF San Diego Section came to reality when No. 2 West Hills and No. 1 Torrey Pines high schools captured Saturday morning semifinal contests in the 13th annual Falcon Fiesta, the county’s most important tournament prior to the start of league play.

The Wolf Pack held off Ramona, 2-1, while the tournament host Falcons needed extra innings to outlast Mira Mesa, 4-1 in eight innings via the international tiebreaker.

CARMEL VALLEY — The anticipated matchup between the top-rated softball teams in the CIF San Diego Section came to reality when No. 2 West Hills and No. 1 Torrey Pines high schools captured Saturday morning semifinal contests in the 13th annual Falcon Fiesta, the county’s most important tournament prior to the start of league play.

The Wolf Pack held off Ramona, 2-1, while the tournament host Falcons needed extra innings to outlast Mira Mesa, 4-1 in eight innings via the international tiebreaker.

In the finale, West Hills produced the game’s lone run in the sixth inning to claim its second Fiesta title in three seasons.

Thus, the Pack enter league play as the top-ranked team among all five CIF divisions.

Wolf Pack senior Noelle Johnson, who will play at Utah State next season, was named most valuable pitcher in the 28-team event.

Meanwhile, junior catcher Cortney Horne, who has committed to Ohio State for the 2014 season, was tabbed most valuable player.

In defeating Torrey Pines, centerfielder Melissa Eggleston made a diving catch to end the 5th inning, stranding a Falcons baserunner at third base.

Eggleston then opened the sixth with a bunt single, stole second base when the Falcons shortstop dropped the ball, then took two bases on a bunt by Arianna Quintanilla, who hustled down the line for the infield hit while Eggleston never stopped running to catch the defense napping.
Meanwhile, Johnson registered seven strikeouts for the victory.

League play opens this week for local teams in three different leagues. Here is a preview of the teams in predicted order of finish:
Grossmont Hills League

1. West Hills (19-10-1, 6-4/3rd)
CIF: Defending Division II champions (moving to Div. III)
Head coach: Mike Applebaum, third year (47-14-2)
Key players: Noelle Johnson (RHP, Sr., Cortney Horne (C, Jr.), Jaymee Bush (1B, Sr.), Arianna Aquininogoc (RF, So.), Katie Byrd (2B, Jr.).
Comments: After recent win over Torrey Pines, Wolf Pack are the No. 1 team in CIFSDS.

2. Steele Canyon (18-14, 8-2/tie 1st)
CIF: Lost Second Round (Div. II)
Head coach: Julie Neubauer
Key players: Molly Hutchison (Jr., C), Jessica Thompson (Sr.), Kali Schwartz (1B, Jr.), Grace Kramer (P, Jr.), Kylie Steagal (DP, Jr.).
Comments: Talented, but lack of consistency could slow them down.

3. Granite Hills (6-18-1, 1-9/6th)
CIF: Did not qualify
Head coach: Erin Coyne, sixth year (78-60-2; 2008 CIF Div. I champions)
Key players: Kimmy Triolo (P, Jr.), Kristina Lahitte (C, Jr.), Michelle Miller (3B, Sr.), Victoria Hathaway (1B, Fr.), Kaila DeWitt (Util. Fr.).
Comments: Loaded with underclassmen, this may be the team to beat in 2013.

4. Grossmont (23-10-1, 8-2/tie 1st)
CIF: Defending Division I champions.
Head coach: Jerry Lerud
Key players: Aubrie May (SS, Sr.), Sarah Nicks (C, Jr.), Cel Davila (Util, Fr.), Hayley Kasden (CF, Sr.).
Comments: Champions lost too many key personnel for another title run.

5. Helix (9-16-1, 3-7/5th)
CIF: Did not qualify.
Head coach: Emily Kowalski, first year
Key players: Keana Nakata (P, Jr.), Samantha Cunningham (Util, Sr.), Sydni Toilolo (INF, Jr.), Desirae Bordine (C, So.), Precious Seetia-Noa (3B, Sr.), Chanelle Ward (INF, Jr.).
Comments: Four coaches in six years has team searching for an idenity.

6. Valhalla (13-15, 4-6/4th)
CIF: Did not qualify.
Head coach: Mark Obney, first year
Key players: Naomi Tellez (C, Sr.), Kiki Brown (1B, Sr.), Madison Labshere (SS, Jr.), Danielle Uy (CF, Fr.), Kailey Hipwell (P/2B, Fr.)
Comments: Fourth head coach in three years has the program spinning.

Grossmont Valley League

1. Santana (25-7, 8-0/1st)
CIF: Lost Semifinals (Div. III)
Head coach: John Failla, second year (25-7)
Key players: Amber Schisler (Jr., P), Kayti Grable (Jr., C), Tara Grennan (Jr., SS).
Comments: Highly talented, and virtually all underclassmen

2. El Capitan (16-15, 6-2/2nd)
CIF: Lost Third Round (Div. III)
Head coach: Joe Cota, 5th year in second stint (70-76)
Key players: Delanie Gourley (LHP, Jr.), Katie Carmichael (1B, So.), Kassie Battaglia (LFm Sr.)
Comments: Gourley will set the CIFSDS career strikeout record; can the defense aid her cause?

3. Monte Vista (13-19, 3-5/tie 3rd)
CIF: Lost Second Round (Div. III)
Head coach: Joe DeMars, first year.
Key players: Emma DeMars (SS, Jr.), Chelsea Balajadia (C, Jr.), Emily Lopez (Util., Sr.)
Comments: Must develop additional pitching to move up.

4. El Cajon Valley (8-19, 3-5/tie 3rd)
CIF: Did not qualify
Head coach: Henry Blackwood, first year.
Key players: Kami Rojas, Diane Frias, Miranda Mullens.
Comments: The loss of key players prior to league play will hamper the Braves,

5. Mount Miguel (1-20, 0-10/5th)
CIF: Did not qualify.
Head coach: Kathleen Hankla, second year (1-20).
Key players: Nicole Vargas (P, Jr.), Aliyah Chavez (1B, Sr.), Blime Macias (SS/2B, Sr.).
Comments: Matadors are in rebuilding for the future..

Eastern League

1. Mira Mesa
Comments: Four Division I commitments on an overall deep roster.
2. Scripps Ranch
Comments: Lost three Division I players, but is team to beat if Mira Mesa fails.
3. Patrick Henry
Comments: Solid senior pitcher in Grace Hernandez, coupled with five starting frosh.
4. Serra
Comments: The usual Conquistadors: A few good players, but no depth.
5. Morse
6. Christian
Comments: USD bound Mary Grabowski (C/1B, Sr.) tops an otherwise young roster.
 

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