Los Angeles Preps: Candice Shadwell

ANAHEIM – For two rounds of the playoffs -- three if you include a wild-card game to play into the first round -- La Palma Kennedy had been living the dream.

Cheyanne Tarango
ESPNLA.comCanyon pitcher Cheyanne Tarango, who has signed with Tennessee, got a big lead early and cruised to a win.
A series of upsets, including a victory over top-seeded Esperanza -- ranked No. 4 in the nation, no less -- had the Fighting Irish in a confident mood.

But the dream turned nightmarish against Anaheim Canyon on Thursday. Irish pitcher Candice Shadwell was hit hard, and Canyon rode a five-run first inning to an 8-1 victory in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section championships for softball.

“We had so much confidence,” said Kennedy coach Sarah Mesa, whose team scored an 8-5 victory over Los Osos in the previous round. “The first inning was really hard for us. They were the better team today.”

The early uprising gave Canyon confidence, too, and the Comanches weren’t lacking for it to begin with.

“We have enough (confidence) to win,” said third baseman Kelly Stowe, who had a single, double and triple, scored twice and drove in three runs. “We’re not overconfident. We’re not going to be cocky. As soon as you do that, you lose.”

With a five-run lead, pitcher Cheyanne Tarango was unbeatable. She struck out 11, and allowed only four hits -- two in the sixth inning when Kennedy scored its only run, on Samantha Concepcion’s single.

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