Friday, Deanna Manning Stadium, 5:15 p.m.
No. 1 La Canada vs. Beaumont
By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
BEAUMONT – Softball teams from the Rio Hondo and Mountain Pass leagues seem to be taking the Rodney Dangerfield approach.
Respect from outside of their respective leagues is still missing.
That’s how Mountain Pass League champion Beaumont High School looks at it.
“We’ve been trying to prove ourselves all year long,” Beaumont coach Jim Tickemyer said. “People were saying that Beaumont hasn’t played much outside of its league, but the Mountain Pass League was pretty tough this year.”
Tickemyer said his team faced quality pitching in nearly every league game.
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“We faced good pitching all year long, and that is something we haven’t had in the past,” he said. “Our league play has helped us get where we’re at today.
“We haven’t seen a pitcher in the playoffs yet that is any better than we’ve seen in league. That really prepares you.”
The same could be said for the Rio Hondo League and its champion, La Canada. The Spartans faced quality league pitching, too.
And despite the Dangerfield enigma, the CIF-Southern Section did seem to notice. The Spartans earned the top seed for the Division 5 tournament, and the Cougars were seeded second.
Although the tournament bracket didn’t completely follow form, the No.3 and 4 seeds getting eliminated, it followed it close enough. The top two seeds will play for the title Friday at 5:15 p.m. at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.
“It’s a battle between No. 1 and No2,” Tickemyer said. “We’re super- excited about playing them. They’re tough, but they’re probably saying the same thing about us.”
Not surprisingly, each team has solid pitching and hitting. The Cougars (25-4) are led by Alyssa Fuimaono. The Spartans (25-3) are led by Lauren O’Leary. Both have wicked pitches on which the batters typically fall one after another without getting the bat on the ball.
It’s also obvious that both teams have solid bats. Kristen Neal hit two long home runs in Tuesday’s 4-0 semifinal victory over Arroyo. Bernadette Moreno also hit a home run. Neal hit three homers in a game last year, but has only four this season.
Anna Edwards has hit 11 homers for the Spartans this season.
La Canada’s lone CIF-SS title in softball was in 1995. Beaumont has never won a softball title.