Orange County: Softball playoff preview

Here's a look at the Southern Section softball semifinals that include Orange County teams:


No. 4 Los Alamitos at Anaheim Canyon, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

This might be Canyon's year. In the past, the Comanches have had high expectations and underperformed for various reasons. This year, they were under the radar but seem to be peaking at the right time. They have never reached a section final before, but in four playoff games -- including a wild card game -- the state's 11th-ranked team has not scored fewer than five runs. That's been enough for Tennessee-bound pitcher Cheyanne Tarango. Los Alamitos, ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 5 in the nation, has had an even easier time of it: The Griffins haven't won by fewer than five runs in the playoffs.

No. 3 Corona Santiago at El Modena, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

El Modena's stud pitcher, Haylie Wagner, and Santiago's stud catcher, Lauren Sweet, are both headed to Michigan in the fall. Bragging rights are on the line. Both these teams are survivors. Santiago, ranked No. 18 in the nation by ESPN Rise, defeated Marina in eight innings, 4-3, in the quarterfinals. El Modena, despite giving up six runs in the seventh inning, outlasted second-seeded Etiwanda in the second round, and then scored twice in the seventh to hold off Valencia, 5-4.


Irvine at No. 4 Camarillo, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

Jasmine Jenkins' squeeze bunt and Josie Tucker's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning allowed Irvine to beat Long Beach Wilson, 201, and advance to the semifinals for the first times since 1998. If the Vaqueros win, they will go to the finals for the first time since 1993 with a chance to win for the first time since 1991. That won't be easy against Camarillo pitcher Sarah Shadinger. Camarillo is the first league champion Irvine has faced in the playoffs.


No. 4 Oxford Academy at No. 1 Downey Calvary Chapel, Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

Calvary Chapel has breezed through the playoffs thus far, while Oxford has had to earn its way with a 1-0 victory over Riverside Notre Dame in the first round and 2-1 win over Windward in 10 innings in the quarterfinals. This could be a pitchers' duel between Oxford's Cassandra Oregel (17-2, 0.63 ERA) and CC's Larissa Petakoff (21-2, 0.78).