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Saturday, June 4, 2011
Softball championships conclude today in Irvine


Softball season ends tonight with the Southern Section's marquee game pitting third-seeded Corona Santiago, which is ranked No. 10 in the ESPN Rise national rankings, against Anaheim Canyon, a third-place team from the Century League that is ranked No. 27 nationally.

It's the last of four games scheduled for today. It brings together a program that is used to getting to the finals, Santiago -- which is playing for the title for the fourth time in eight years -- against a program that is in the championship for the first time.

The way the ball flew out of the park on Friday in the first three games of the weekend, it would be a huge surprise if several aren't hit Saturday: Canyon hit six in the semifinals against Los Alamitos, and Santiago's Lauren Sweet has 14 on the season.

Games are at Barber Park in Irvine.

Here is a look at today's schedule:

Division 1: Anaheim Canyon (23-7) vs. Corona Santiago (27-5), 6 p.m.

Tennessee-bound right-hander Cheyanne Tarango (23-7, 2.38) has had her ups and downs, but she's been good in the playoffs and may provide the edge in experience over Santiago sophomore Erica Romero (15-3, 1.39). Of course, this is unlikely to be a pitchers' duel. Santiago has 10 players who have homered, seven who who have homered at least twice, and five who have at least 20 RBIs. In addition to Sweet (.482, 43 runs, 46 RBIs), Santiago's lineup boasts Randel Leahy (.315, 24 runs, 22 RBIs, 8 HR), Erin Rodriguez (.342, 23 runs, 20 RBIs, 4 HR), Danielle Hernandez (.359, 20 runs, 31 RBIs, 4 HR) and Yvon Minogue (.422, 35 runs, 24 RBIs, 4 HR). Canyon has to like its chances after the way it beat Los Alamitos in the semifinals. Junior shortstop Lauren Young (.462, 27 runs, 36 RBIs), an Arizona commit, is complemented by Kelly Stowe (.381, 26 runs, 28 RBIs), Shannon Bustillos (.439, 11 runs, 24 RBIs) and Taylor Swearingen (.386, 19 runs, 26 RBIs).

Division 2: No. 4 Camarillo (25-7) vs. La Mirada (21-11), 3:30 p.m.

It has been 15 years since Camarillo played for a championship, and the Scorpions are trying to win for the first time since 1991. They are led by Bianca Noriega (.420, 22 runs, 27 RBIs) and Kristie Dederick (.392, 27 runs, 27 RBIs), and the leadoff tandem of Hayley Chamberlain (.396, 28 runs) and Jenna King (.384, 25 runs). Sarah Shadinger (18-5, 1.44 ERA) has 217 strikeouts in 141 innings. La Mirada finished third in the Suburban League. The Matadores, in the finals for the fifth time, haven't won since 1991. They've been getting it done in the playoffs with pitching; their last thee victories have come despite scoring only three runs. Rochelle Sablay (.451, 23 runs, 25 RBIs) and Courtney Skogen (.345, 21 runs, 24 RBIs) anchor the offense. 

Division 4: Fontana Kaiser (20-10) vs. Goleta Dos Pueblos (21-9), 12:30 p.m.

Kaiser is trying to win its first title behind Krystel Gabbard (15-5, 2.35 ERA), who's batting 459 with 35 RBIs, along with Jessline Contreras (.489, 29 runs, 35 RBIs). Dos Pueblos, which won a section title in 2005, has been most impressive in the playoffs; the Chargers have won their last three games on the road, including an 11-inning, 1-0 victory over fourth-seeded Ocean View; the 4-1 semifinal victory over top-seeded Aquinas was the only playoff game in which Hannah Harris (21-9, 1.07 ERA) has allowed a run. DP has only three players with as many as 10 RBIs.

Division 6: No. 1 Downey Calvary Chapel (25-4) vs. No. 3 Perris Citrus Valley (24-5), 10 a.m.

Calvary Chapel carries a 16-game winning streak into the finals and is trying to win the school's first softball title behind a lineup that includes four players with at least 30 RBIs, including Bridget Castro (.534, 49 runs, 48 RBIs, 11 HR). Citrus Valley is also vying for its first title and is led by Nikki Hoffman (.571, 267 runs, 33 RBIs).