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Friday, June 3, 2011
Softball championships begin today in Irvine

By Martin Henderson

Top-seeded Oaks Christian, in the finals for the first time since 2005, will face off against South Hills tonight for the Division 3 softball title in the Southern Section Championships at Barber Park in Irvine.

It's the last of three games, with four games scheduled for Saturday including the marquee Anaheim Canyon-Corona Santiago matchup in Division 1.

Oaks Christian had a remarkable run from 2001-2005 in which it won two titles and was runner-up three times. In facing South Hills, the Lions will be facing a team that was beaten in last year's championship game. The Huskies are trying to win their third title, too; they won titles in 1982 and 1997.

Here's a look at today's schedule:

Friday at Barber Park in Irvine

Division 3: South Hills (21-7) vs. No. 1 Oaks Christian (29-5), 7:30 p.m.
Oaks Christian has allowed only one run in the playoffs, a 2-1 victory over fourth-seeded Chino Hills in the semifinals that required freshman reliever Kristin Cullen (8-2) to pitch out of a seventh inning jam and then have her teammates score twice in the bottom of the inning. Kiana Quolas (17-3, 0.42 ERA) handles most of the pitching duties, and she will likely be the the choice to stop the Huskies, who are brimming with confidence; they scored perhaps the most impressive victory of the playoffs, a 16-1 drubbing of second-seeded Bishop Amat. Pitcher Sydney La Follette (17-6, 3.50 ERA; .405, 31 RBIs) has been hot in the playoffs; she's batting .643 with eight RBIs and three homers in the postseason, a healthy complement to junior catcher Britney Rodriguez (.461, 33 RBIs) and school valedictorian Samantha Nieves (.432, 20 RBIs).

Division 5: No. 1 La Canada (25-3) vs. No. 2 Beaumont (25-4), 5:15 p.m.

La Canada carries a 22-game winning streak into the title game as it hopes to win its first title since 1991. The Spartans are led by Georgetown-bound pitcher Lauren O’Leary (24-2, 0.40 ERA). Northwestern-bound Anna Edwards (.465, 30 RBIs) has 11 homers for La Canada, which has outscored opponents 32-3 in the playoffs. Beaumont counters with Alyssa Fuimaono (24-4, 1.74 ERA) as the Cougars seek their first championship.

Division 7: No. 2 Bell-Jeff (22-5) vs. No. 1 Pomona Catholic (23-5), 3 p.m.

Since a 2-1 loss to West Covina on April 6, Pomona Catholic has won 14 in a row (two by forfeit) by a combined score of 234-0 -- including 81-0 in the playoffs. Amber Padilla (18-4, 0.31) has pitched back-to-back perfect games.

Saturday at Barber Park in Irvine
Division 6: Downey Calvary Chapel vs. Perris Citrus Valley, 10 a.m.
Division 4: Fontana Kaiser vs. Goleta Dos Pueblos, 12:30 p.m.
Division 2: Camarillo vs. La Mirada, 3:30 p.m.
Division 1: Anaheim Canyon vs. Corona Santiago, 6 p.m.