PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Miranda Viramontes, Chino, Jr., Pitcher
Miranda Viramontes may have produced the same end result as last season, but rest assured, the path was entirely different.
It is a testament to the pitcher’s talent that she led her team through a playoff gauntlet to a CIF championship as an inexperienced sophomore in 2012. It was practically unfair for opponents this season.
Having not just a year under her belt, but a run through the playoffs chock-full of tense one-run games, Viramontes’ postseason performance in 2013 was off the charts. In the playoffs alone, the junior pitched a no-hitter and three one-hitters, one of which netted a 4-0 win over Lakewood in the CIF-SS Division 2 championship game on June 1.
The lone playoff game Viramontes allowed more than one hit was a nine-inning 2-1 victory.
“I don’t think this season could have ended up any better,” Viramontes said. “With my record and my numbers and where we ended up as a team, it was just unbelievable.”
Miranda Viramontes was destined for awards beyond the CIF-SS championship plaque she hoisted on June 1. The only playoff game that wasn’t a no-hitter or a one-hitter for the Chino pitcher was a 2-1 semifinal win. The junior’s shutout in the title game awarded Chino its second consecutive CIF championship to which Viramontes added a CIF-SS Division 2 Player of the Year award today. Chino coach Mike Smith was awarded Coach of the year in Division 2 after a 29-2 season that was unquestionably the best in school history.
To view all-CIF teams for baseball and softball, click the link below.
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.
All it took was one hit.
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.”
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.
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.
Here are all of Thursday’s quarterfinal scores:
1. Bonita (24-3) Locked up Hacienda League title by beating Diamond Bar
2. Kaiser (22-3) Allowed an average of 1.2 runs the last nine games
3. Los Osos (19-5) Clinched Baseline title with no-hitter against Glendora
4. San Dimas (22-6) Two clutch wins over Northview won Valle Vista title
5. Carter (18-6) San Andreas League champs have won 10 of their last 11
6. Diamond Bar (19-5) Brahmas fell short against Bonita in bid for league title
7. Chino (16-9) Won last eight league games to share Mt. Baldy title
8. Montclair (18-6) Outright bid for Mt. Baldy title derailed by Chino
9. Don Lugo (20-6) Caught late breaks to finish with share of Mt. Baldy title
10. Claremont (12-11) Wolfpack holding on to second in wild Sierra race
Matt McCain resigned Friday after three years as Chino’s head football coach, ending a tenure that included two league championships and one undefeated regular season.
The Chino alumnus will remain a physical education teacher and work experience coordinator at the school, but ends a football coaching career that began at Chino in 1995.
“I’ve continued my education and at this point in my career I want to pursue other professional opportunities,” McCain said. “Chino football has been a big part of my life and always will be, but this was a logical time for me to step down.”
League MVPs: Alex Arellano, Chino, QB; Samajie Grant, Colony, RB
Willie Morris, Chino
Christian Galvez, Chino
Victor Garcia, Chino
Austin Coach, Chino
Jessie Rosas, Chino
Mike Lara, Chino
Malik Demby, Chino