Chino softball’s best tool to defend its CIF championship – defense

Inland Empire high school softball went a long way toward validating mention in the same breath as the Orange County programs by claiming three CIF championships last season. Of the three that were crowned in 2012 – Chino, Chino Hills and Pomona Catholic – only Chino remains alive entering today’s semifinals.

Thanks to one of the best pitchers in Southern California, junior Miranda Viramontes, the defending CIF-SS Division 2 champions have allowed just one run in the postseason, though Chino won its second-round game by a score of 2-0.

The third-seeded Cowgirls will take on a Westlake Village Oaks Christian team that not only finished third in the Tri-Valley League, but is the only team from its league to win a playoff game. Oaks Christian began its postseason in the wild-card round, but following an 11-0 blowout has won its last three games by an average of just two runs.

Coming off a 10-0 quarterfinal victory over Dana Hills, Chino needs just one win to make a return trip to Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine. All softball CIF finals will be played either Friday or Saturday at times yet to be determined.