Our photographer, Rachel Luna, captured this great shot of Mesa Grande Academy’s Jen Deiner hitting the ball during Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division 7 semifinal win, 8-3 over Academy for Academic Excellence.
First, here are Tuesday’s Sun/Bulletin baseball/softball scores:
Temecula Valley 3, Los Osos 2
Gardena Serra 9, Diamond Bar 2
Oaks Christian 3, San Dimas 0
Citrus Valley 1, Sun Valley Village Christian 0
Chino 2, Oaks Christian 1 (9 inn.)
Montebello 12, Silverado 11 (9 inn)
Aquinas 9, Covina Northview 1
Mesa Grande Academy 8, Academy for Academic Excellence 3
Here is some stuff from the Mesa Grande game, some of which didn’t make it into my game story on sbsun.com.
A key moment in the game came after AAE’s Rebekkah Keller hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the third to give AAE a 3-1 lead. Still batting in that inning, AAE had two on and two out. That’s when Alyssa Frederick was called out at first base to end the inning. There seemed to be some confusion as to the exact violation, but the bottom line was that Frederick was off the base at a time when she wasn’t allowed. Suffice it to stay that it was a rally killer. It ended the inning and AAE didn’t score again.
Baserunning and catching was a key aspect of the game. Michaela Garcia, MGA’s catcher, was stellar behind the plate. AAE didn’t take a single extra base on a stolen base, passed ball or wild pitch all game long on Garcia. Meanwhile, MGA ran wild, taking 14 extra bases on either wild pitches, passed balls or a catcher throwing error. It was so rough for AAE, that they made a catching change during the top of the fifth, when MGA scored four runs to take the lead for good. Aggressiveness paid off for MGA: they had only 12 baserunners via hit, walk or error. Eight of them scored, one was erased on a double play and three were stranded. AAE had only eight baserunners and left four on base.
Garcia, of course, was MGA’s all-Sun point guard for the CIF-SS champion girls basketball team. Like she did in basketball, she seemed to be the backbone.
But the star Tuesday was MGA pitcher Jen Deiner. Deiner was the losing pitcher in last year’s 24-0 loss to eventual champion Pomona Catholic in the CIF-SS Division 7 semifinals. She shrugged it off and it appeared to have no lasting effects Tuesday. Deiner was 3 for 3 at the plate with a double, a walk, a home run and two RBIs. She reached base four times and of those four times, three times her courtesy runner, Morgan Johnson scored a run. According to MGA’s stats, Deiner is now batting .606 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs this season.
Both teams reached uncharted waters this season. AAE had never reached the semifinals and now MGA is reaching the finals for the first time. The softball finals schedule will be announced Wednesday. AAE should be very good again next year. The Knights started five freshmen, one sophomore and three seniors on Tuesday. Rebekkah Keller, who hit the home run, is one of the freshmen.