Chino’s dominance can’t be confined to Southern California. The juggernaut softball team that claimed its second consecutive CIF-SS Division 2 championship on Saturday, was named the Division 2 state softball team of the year by Cal-Hi Sports. Here is the photo gallery from the historic 4-0 win over Lakewood.
Chino finished fourth in the state rankings last season, but a season that included just two one-run losses vaulted the Cowgirls to the top. And they’re not done yet. Utah-bound pitcher Miranda Viramontes will return for her senior season along with four freshman who played prominent roles this season.
Mission Viejo, one of the two teams to which Chino lost during the regular season – Viramontes, however, didn’t pitch in the Cowgirls’ 7-6 loss March 9 – was the overall state No. 1 entering the playoffs. The No. 1 seed in Division 2 fell to Ayala. Coincidentally, Ayala was the last local team to end the season as Cal-Hi Sports’ overall No. 1 team in the state when a Jessica Hall-led squad won a CIF title.
Chino’s game was so refined by the time the softball team reached Saturday’s CIF-SS Division 2 championship game that one hit was enough to convince Cowgirls coach Mike Smith a second consecutive title was in the bag.
Ruby Barroso’s second-inning solo home run turned out to be enough as Miranda Viramontes pitched her third one-hitter of the playoffs to lead Chino to a 4-0 win over Lakewood and a second consecutive CIF championship.
Viramontes, who last season was the centerpiece of the first CIF championship softball team in school history, allowed just two runs the entire postseason. With eight strikeouts and two walks, the junior won her 21st consecutive start by defeating fourth-seeded Lakewood on Saturday in a game she entered with a 0.36 earned-run average.
“You give Miranda a lead and it’s pretty much over,” Smith said. “You look at the numbers, I think it’s been years since anybody’s done what she did. I don’t think there’s anybody in the state that pitched better this year.”
There is a little bit of a gap seeing as the CIF-Southern Section is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and Mike Smith has been coaching for 26 years.
Regardless of the context, the Chino softball coach’s profession of his pitcher’s greatness is a bold one.
Miranda Viramontes hasn’t given anyone reason not to believe him, winning a CIF-SS championship in her first season as a starter and carrying the Cowgirls to the brink of another as a junior.
On the strength of two postseason one-hitters and a no-hitter preceding Tuesday’s 2-1 win in nine innings, Viramontes (pictured above) has pitched Chino within one win of a second straight CIF championship.
“I was telling them at the CIF meeting that I think this is the most dominant a pitcher has ever been in the history of CIF,” Smith said. “That’s the type of year she’s having.”
Second place is OK up to a certain point in track season. At least that was the general consensus at last week’s CIF-SS Masters meet.
Friday is the last time that attitude will be applicable.
Entering tomorrow’s qualifying round of this weekend’s CIF State track meet at Clovis Buchanan High School, Inland Valley athletes are ranked second in the state in six events. For months now the goal has been to rank first at state finals on June 1.
Jordie Munford isn’t among those currently ranked second in the state, but the Rancho Cucamonga hurdler knows better than anybody in Clovis this weekend what second feels like.
Diamond Bar wasn’t alone. The Brahmas suffered the fate of the other two local baseball teams in Tuesday’s CIF-SS semifinals, falling a game short of playing for a championship. After Diamond Bar couldn’t convert a third-inning leadoff triple into a run, it was all downhill in a 10-2 loss to second-seeded Gardena Serra.
Though San Dimas avoided an Oaks Christian ace expected to be a first-round draft pick, the Saints fell to the No. 1 seed, 3-0. Division 2 No. 3 seed Los Osos went down in heartbreaking fashion, falling victim to a two-out single in the final inning of a 3-2 loss to second-seeded Temecula Valley. Ontario Christian, the final local baseball team standing, will play its Division 5 semifinal today after the game was delayed due to Oak Hills’ graduation.
For all CIF-SS baseball semifinal scores, click the link below.
Diamond Bar wasn’t the Hacienda League team most expected to be going strong in the Division 3 semifinals, but the Brahmas have long since outlasted league champion and defending CIF champ Bonita, a surprising first-round victim.
The second-place team from the Hacienda League allowed its first run of the playoffs in a 5-3 win over third-seeded Gahr in the quarterfinals and will host a second-seeded Gardena Serra team today that is averaging over 13 runs a game in the postseason.
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 above video shows Robert Mendez scoring the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning on a wild pitch and a throwing error in Ontario Christian’s 2-1 Division 5 quarterfinal victory in nine innings on Friday.
But consider some of the interesting aspects in this game:
NBA players versus the current CIF champions… this could actually be a compelling matchup.
Dallas Mavericks point guard Darren Collison, USC forward Byron Wesley and several other Etiwanda alumni who have continued their careers beyond high school will take on the reigning CIF-SS Division 1AA champions Friday night at Etiwanda High School.
Thursday’s 1-5 record doesn’t do justice to the heartbreak felt by local softball teams in Thursday’s quarterfinals. San Dimas lost in extra innings, Ayala (pictured above) coughed up a final-inning two-run lead and Kaiser’s eight-run second inning wasn’t enough in a 15-9 loss. Defending CIF champion Chino was the lone survivor thanks to the Division 2 No. 3 seed’s 10-0 win over Dana Hills. Fellow defending CIF champ Pomona Catholic is still alive in Division 6, but won’t play until Friday after its expected opponent today, Indio Shadow Hills, was removed from the playoffs for taking illegal batting practice.
Etiwanda’s team of nine freshman ousted the No. 3 seed on the way to the quarterfinals, but the lone local in Division 1 couldn’t get past Yorba Linda. Ayala, the fourth-place team from the Sierra League that ended the season of Division 2 No. 1 seed Mission Viejo on Tuesday, had a 3-1 lead entering the final inning of an error-marred 5-3 loss to Long Beach Millikan. Chino Hills, another defending CIF champ, was hoping for an all-Sierra League semifinal with Ayala but struck out 11 times in a 2-0 loss to Lakewood ace Janelle Hayes.