By Steve Ramirez
IRVINE – South Hills High School used its offense and defense to advance to the CIF-Southern Section softball championships for the second consecutive season.
It was the lack of each which did the Huskies in Friday.
Kelly Spear and Ava Jensen each hit home runs and Kiana Quolas was solid in the circle and top-seeded Oaks Christian took advantage of six South Hills errors to score a 10-1 victory in the Division 3 title game at Deanna Manning Stadium.
The Lions, getting four RBIs from Spear and two from Jensen, finished 30-5. It was also Oaks Christian’s third win over a team from the Sierra League after earlier in the playoffs beating St. Lucy’s and Chino Hills.
South Hills, in the championship game for the second consecutive
season, finished 21-8. The Huskies lost 4-0 to Whittier Christian in
“That’s what it is,” said South Hills coach Scott Fisch, referring to the Huskies six errors. “We had the game Lakeside (in the quarterfinals) had, the game Bishop Amat had (in the semifinals). We had that game.
“That’s what happens when you’re in (the championship game). We’re fortunate to be here. I’m sure there are a lot of teams who would have wanted to trade places with us. We’re disappointed.”
South Hills, which routed Bishop Amat 16-1 in the semifinals, looked like it still had the playoff magic on its side, putting runners on first and third during the second after back-to-back singles by Kristen Stewart and Sydney La Follette. But Quolas struck out Natalie Moran and Sabrina Perez to end the inning.
An inning later, Oaks Christina made the Huskies pay for it, taking advantage of sloppy defense for a 5-0 lead in the third.
Jensen led off with a single. Leah Bleichner, following a sacrifice, then reached on a fielding error, with pinch-runner Hailey Moore advancing to third. Quolas then bunted for a single to score Moore for a 1-0 lead before Hanah Roberg followed with a single to push it to 2-0.
Savannah Carpenter walked before Spear hammered a pitch from La Follette for a three-run homer and a 5-0 advantage.
“We had that chance with the first and third (during the second) to do something,” Fisch said. “That changes the game. But I don’t look at that way. We just didn’t play well throughout.
“But that’s a quality team. We ran into the best pitcher in the division again, and they’re the best team.”
Britney Rodriguez made it 5-1 when she hit her eighth home run of the year in the fourth. But the Huskies, arguably the area’s top-scoring team , had no other answer for Quolas, who finished with a four-hitter and struck out 13.
Oaks Christian then all but put it away, taking an 8-1 lead in the fifth.
Spears singled with one out and took third on a double by Nicole Leonard. Spears was thrown out at home while trying to advance on a ground ball by Karli Rumburg. But Leonard, who took third on the play, scored on a double-steal with Rumburg to make it 6-1. Jensen then drilled a pitch over the left-center field fence to push it to 8-1.
South Hills put runners on first and second in the sixth after Rodriguez and Sam Nieves reached on errors. But Quolas struck out Stewart to end the threat.
Three errors by the Huskies in the bottom of the sixth allowed Oaks Christian to increase it to 10-1. Quolas, after La Follette singled to open the seventh, then retired the final three batters and won it by striking out Brittany Amezquita to end it.
“It’s a positive just to get here,” Fisch said. “There are a lot of schools who would love to be here two years in row. (Our players) don’t understand tonight. They will understand some day. It would
nice to get to CIF titles. But you have to play your best for five games. That’s the difference.”
South Hills 000 – 100 – 0 — 1 — 4 — 6
Oaks Chrs 005 -032- -x — 10 – 10 — 2