Softball: Chino Hills beats St. Lucy’s 7-3 to take Sierra League title, O’Toole doesn’t start?

Chino Hills beat St. Lucy’s 7-3 in Friday’s big showdown that could have given St. Lucy’s at least a share of the Sierra League title. The Regents had been on a role behind senior pitcher Danielle O’Toole, who is headed to San Diego State, but O’Toole didn’t start. She came in during the fourth inning with the Regents already trailing 7-2. The Inland Insider, Tom Kiss, is at the game and will have postgame highlights and interviews. Should be interesting to hear the thought process on why you wouldn’t start the area’s best pitcher in the biggest game of the year.

“In a game like this when you’re trying to win a league championship, I was very surprised they didn’t start (O’Toole),” Chino Hills coach Mike Southworth said. “We’ve hit her in the past, but things can change. For her not to start, there must have been a major reason.”

“We were hoping that we would catch them off balance with our decision to change up the pitchers,” St. Lucy’s coach Ryan Nuveman said. “But they got some timely hits and we made a couple mistakes (in the third inning).”

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  • tommykiss
  • Chokano

    I would have CoachChonkman fired for this move. GET HIM OUT

  • Wow

    I thought St. Lucy’s just had a bunch of whining parents reading the softball threads on the coach, but now I get it, what a bonehead move not starting O’Toole. You know when the opposing coach is mocking you, something’s up. I know they’re in different divisions, but this would be like Bonita not throwing Garza against South Hills if they met in the playoffs to “catch them off balance,” because South Hills beat them the first time.


    Go to 4:51 on the video. Does not have a clue!

  • Softball Guru

    Aside from the pitching decision, the video shows a lot of errors in the infield. Can’t do that against Chino Hills and expect to win.

  • Soccer fan

    St. Lucy’s just fired a very successful soccer coach. Maybe they can hire n00bman, I hear he has actually watched a soccer game on TV, making him more than qualified to coach the team. That’s about the same amount of experience he had before taking the softball head coach job.

  • Saint Helpme’s

    Soccer fan said:St. Lucy’s just fired a very successful soccer coach.

    Yup, I hope Soccer doesn’t have to endure what Softball has gone through the last three years, The Softball team did better than the previous years but it wasn’t due to the coaching, A rock could have done a better job and probably been more successful, These girls know what they have to do and needed a head coach that was a real leader, This guy definitely failed them at that. Hopefully he moves on and doesn’t continue his spiteful coaching antics at St Lucy’s.

  • 20/20

    Are we watching the same video? The coach gave his reason for not starting his ace (stupid reason, always go with your ace), but it appears the strategy might have worked but your defense did not make the plays in clutch situations.

  • SBSL

    Smith did her Job & so did Otoole.
    DID WALSH TAKE BLAME for his uneducated PITCH CALLS?
    Bases loaded & NOT one following batter did their job. It’s happened before that you would THINK a coach would know this by now.
    WALSH & NUVEMAN could have brought in Otoole at the 2nd inning BUT…

  • Regents in the House

    SL Soccer: That is too bad about the firing of the SL Soccer coach. This is a hit the SL program having lost Coach Mark to cancer and then Andy to some BS politics.

    SL Softball: I have no words why a coach wouldn’t go with his ace pitcher. Chino Hills coach may have dissed her after their last game but knowing O’Toole, I would have liked to seen her in action on home turf to start. I agree that its a team sport and everyone has to show up on defense and hitting. But Nueveman’s got to go.

    The game isn’t over. CIF is next.

  • Frustrating season

    First of all, congrats to CHHS!! What a great team and a great group of girls, you deserve every win. Good luck in CIF!

    Before I start I would like to preface this by saying yes, I am airing out dirty laundry but I think the time is right and the frustration level is at its highest.

    In regards to the SL coaching staff, its beyond reason why they do the things they do. Let’s break this down for those of you just tuning in:

    1. The Softball Varsity coach at SL is hired with zero coaching experience and barely played baseball in High School. How does someone get that job with absolutely no coaching experience????? Something is very strange about that. So for this I place all the blame on the administration for not taking the softball program seriously. They had two coaches at the JV level that have coaching experience and played in college. Why would you hire someone with no experience at all vs coaches with experience and are already on staff??? Not sure there will ever be an answer for that question.

    2. The coach believes he knows what he is doing. It’s unfortunate that he can’t recognize that he is in over his head. The caliber of players he has on his team knows the game better than he does.

    3. The coach decides to bring on help….good idea but unfortunately he didn’t do his homework. He brought on a pitching coach that doesn’t know what he is doing. Why would you mess with your ace pitcher???? O’Toole and her catcher have done extremely well together and he decides to screw up a good thing. If he had any coaching or playing experience this would not have happened.

    4. His pitchers and catchers are threatened that if they don’t throw what the “pitch calling” coach wants they will be benched. Are you kidding? A pitcher that is dubbed the areas best pitcher? Does the saying “don’t fix something if it aint broke” come to mind?

    5. The coach has lost players internally that refuse to play for him and good players that were thinking of attending SL but decided against it because of the coaching.

    6. SL is out-coached every tight game. When to bunt, when to steal, when to hit and run, when to sub, when to pull a pitcher including ur ace, how to put together an effective offensive line up, how to prepare ur team before a game and how to communicate to your players during the game.

    7. His line-up has not made sense one time during the year. If the coaching staff understood the game they would see the obvious holes and how to adjust. This is why SL had bases loaded with no outs this last game against CHHS and couldn’t score but 1 run…if you adjust the line up you would have a chance. Everyone can see it except the SL coaches.

    8. We come to this game….he starts the #2 pitcher. Well, not a bad idea, but he waits till they score 7 runs before he made the change. 7 runs?????? What are they thinking???? Just shows again the lack of coaching knowledge. As soon as CHHS starts hitting the #2 hard you have to put it in the hands of your ace. Again…everyone can see this but the SL coaching staff. Its a shame that the #2 pitcher had to endure 7 runs before something was done.

    9. The parents have taken concerns to the coaching staff numerous times and have tried to help. Parents have gone to the AD and nothing has changed at all. How is that? Parents and other sources have complained numerous times and nothing happens??? Hmmmm….I wonder why? The SL soccer coach that has been extremely successful was fired and the softball coaching staff remains intact? Not sure what politics are being played but it only hurts the girls and that is inexcusable. I wonder if the principle knows what is happening or is the AD keeping this quiet?

    I reference the SL “coaching staff” because I am not sure who his making the decisions. Its typically the head coach making decisions but with this team who knows.

    There are more things to this list but these are the main points. This is why travel ball players and parents can’t wait to get back to quality coaches when high school is over.

    I know the SL coaches read this blog so…. Think about the girls for once and just let them play. This is there time, not yours. Let them go into playoffs with a chance of winning and understand you hinder them more than you help them.

  • Truth Please

    You SL parents are something. Let me see if I have this right. SL and O’Toole (great pitcher)
    has not beaten Chino Hills in 4 years? Yet you are saying starting another pitcher (Smith) who keeps strong hitters off balance, was 5-0 before League started and had a low ERA was a mistake? Here is the problem though, Smith has not seen the circle in almost 5 weeks, not even warmed up between innings when games were out of reach because of the score, including the last meeting vs. Chino Hills. Why has she not pitched? Hmm..Then she was asked moments before Fidays’s game to pitch because somebody asked the coach to pitch Smith. Who and Why?? Then to top that, the pitching coach engages in an argument with her catcher between and during innings about shaking off pitches. The coach then proceeds to go into an irrate rage kicking and punching the fence as the head coach watches. I would have had Smith pulled out of the game myself to save her from all the embarrassment her coaches had caused. Accountability? Start with AD, head coach and down the line. Hopefully Monday there will be some changes.

  • hssb

    So in the past I have commented that the St. Lucy’s parents did too much whining and needed to just let their kids play and speak for themselves. I still believe the parents need to go through the right channels at the school (i.e. the AD) instead of whining at the games and on this blog, but I have to say I was in shock when St. Lucy’s didn’t start O’Toole for the big game against Chino Hills the other day. Taking nothing away from Caroline Smith, but as a coach you just have to go with your ace in a situation when the League title is on the line.

    Trying to “catch Chino Hills off guard” by starting your #2 is the most riduculous thing I have ever heard. With so many future D1 players and 3 future Pac 12 players, do you seriously think you are going to fool them? That is the craziest thing I have ever heard!

  • Truth Please

    To hssb:
    St. Lucy’s parents have been going through the correct channels with the AD and Principal the last 3 years. Is somebody protected?
    Again, Smith is a very good future D1 pitcher who did get some big outs on a few of your D1 Pac-12 players you mentioned. Infield ground outs from Parks and Girrard. However, there were also ground balls that were not fielded and bloopers which should have been caught. The catcher and pitching coach were arguing about pitch selections during the game, Smith has not been seen on the mound in 5 weeks and is told she is pitching moments before the biggest game of the season. Where is the support, confidence and preparation to give Smith and SL a chance? So yes, I agree, O’Toole your ace senior pitcher should have started. But again, the focus of all of this should be who and why made this decision? Is there more to this or have SL parents been right all along? It appears he can’t make decisions on his own an
    d is completely lost.

  • OMG please

    you people need to give CH some respect.they beat you twice now.the first time your so called ace was pitching and they smacked her in the chops!!face it your just not that good, get over yourselves please

  • Just a thought

    Has St. Lucys ever been able to beat Chino Hills? If I remember correctly, they played each other 3 times last year, and Im pretty sure St. Lucys lost all 3 of those as well. Did St. Lucys play them before the league was changed? Howd that work out for St. Lucys?
    I find it interesting that these supposed high virtue parents have been teaching their daughters to 1) stomp their feet and complain long enough that theyll either get their way or people will stop listening.(Apparently the AD and coach at this point) 2) Blame anyone and everyone else-umpires, coaches, and teammates. Unfortunately they havent taught their princesses to take responsibility; these homes must not have any mirrors to see were blame really may lie.

  • Don Julio

    OMG, You obviously didn’t read the comments, So quick to judge, The comments have nothing but props for CHHS? There were NO NEGATIVE comments about CHHS.

    Frustrating season said:
    First of all, congrats to CHHS!! What a great team and a great group of girls, you deserve every win. Good luck in CIF!

    OMG please said:
    you people need to give CH some respect.they beat you twice now.the first time your so called ace was pitching and they smacked her in the chops!!face it your just not that good, get over yourselves please

  • two cents

    SL, you may have good pitchers and a few strong hitters but you need good fielding to win. In both games your infielders made a couple of errors that may have caused both losses. CH displayed solid and excellent defense with zero errors. Maybe your coaches should pay more attention to fielding for the play offs.

  • SBSL

    Dear CHINO HILLS, Yes you won congrats it’s a good team and obviously coached well we will not take that away from you we have no reason to. No one is saying that Chino Hills is nothing less than good and its fine we lost. It happens and we have to move forward. What else would make you (the parents feel better)? Do you think these waves of WINNING are constant? Some you win some you lose it’s just what happens in sports. BUT! to now try and coach us is beyond. Look we both have great players we both have college bound athletes and we both are solid teams and a 7-3 win Ill take it was a decent game.


    I get a hoot out of the ones that love to put Otoole down. It amazes me that OLDER so called adults have the ability to talk crap about a kid whom obviously received the attention of her new COLLEGE coach (the one that matters).

    From Chino Hills to Saint Lucy’s we all have good players that’s a fact but to badger the KIDS based on your so called coaching knowledge… MOST are moving onto COLLEGE SOFTBALL (D1) let their new coaches handle them, NOT YOU.

  • 1+1 cents

    @two cents:
    You are right, errors and non-plays have cost the team in close games. But, he has half the infield out of position, nothing new.

  • What has CHills done?

    When Chino Hills goes to the finals, they earn my respect. Nothing matters until the postseason. They’re somewhere between good and great, and will find that out in the coming weeks. CHills does have St. Lucy’s number, but I bet St. Lucy’s goes further in the playoffs. St. Lucy’s is best against teams that haven’t faced O’Toole, she’s tough the fist time you see her and St. Lucy’s is scoring enough to win. Look at last year, O’Toole nearly pitched them to the semis without any run support. The playoffs are ALL about pitching and timely hits, so watch out for the Regents in the playoffs.

  • Nice try-

    There is no comparison between Chino Hills and St. Lucy’s. Really stop kidding yourselves. You have been entertaining fools to watch though, I’ll give you that.

  • OMG please

    @ what has chills done?
    hey the brea improv is right down the street(friday is open mic night)go and tell your funny stories there.your team is out matched,out played and out classed.and BTW i’m ready for another one of your joke comments