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.