And the edge goes to …

Today’s CIF-SS Division 3 softball final pits a pair of Whittier-area teams – La Serna and St. Paul – against one another at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine. It will be the fourth meeting of the season between them, with La Serna holding a slight 2-1 advantage before the 4:45 p.m. contest. La Serna left-hander Jamie Wren has allowed just one run during the playoffs while St. Paul’s Krystal Gutierrez blasted a pair of home runs in the Swordsmen’s semifinal victory over Palos Verdes. Like two of the first three meetings, it should be a terrific game.
Here’s a look at my Tale of the Tape and my prediction:
Pitching: La Serna’s Wren is 24-2 this season with a 0.47 ERA, and hadn’t allowed a run in the playoffs until the seventh inning of Tuesday’s semifinal against Righetti. Like St. Paul senior Koreen Orozco, Wren relies on location and movement instead of pure velocity, and she’s a master at inducing ground balls.
Advantage: La Serna

Offense: St. Paul has scored 41 runs in the playoffs, including 10 or more three times, and it closed the regular season with 10 or more runs in its last four games. The Swordsmen averaged 8.33 runs during Del Rey League play. La Serna was no slouch in the Del Rio League, averaging 7.2 runs per game, but 10 of its games were decided by three runs or less.
Advantage: St. Paul

Defense: The left side of La Serna’s infield is as strong as any in the Southern Section, with junior Taylor Becerra at shortstop and senior Molly Bourne at third, and they combined for two errors in 33 chances in the playoffs. In the outfield, senior Dani Garcielita positions herself and her teammates in left and right correctly with a coach’s precision. St. Paul’s best defender is senior center fielder Lovie Lopez, whose speed and reaction off the bat is remarkable.
Advantage: La Serna

Base running: Both teams are aggressive on the bases without taking unnecessary chances, and both have terrific leadoff hitters – Becerra and Lopez. St. Paul’s superior power means it can play more of a station-to-station game, while La Serna plays a little more small ball.
Advantage: Draw

Intangibles: La Serna holds the advantage in the season series, and has made deeper playoff runs in recent years. The teams have only one common opponent this season – Bishop Amat – and both went unbeaten against the Lancers (La Serna 2-0, St. Paul 3-0). La Serna is on a seven-game winning streak, but the Swordsmen’s streak is at 14. La Serna is in its first CIF final since 2008; St. Paul hasn’t played in a CIF final since 1997.
Advantage: Draw

Final score: La Serna 6, St. Paul 4

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  • fan

    sp 2-la sena 1

  • The truth and nothing but…

    fan: how many games will your football team win this year?

    • If they played in the Del Rio league im’ sure they’d run the table. The Del Rio League is a joke, basically.

  • Fan

    This is a softball discussion, have a great day!

    • The truth and nothing but…

      Any truth to the rumor St. Paul is thinking of becoming an all girl school? What is your view of the school’s recent move to the Southeast Division (D7) for football?

      • Fan

        I don’t speak on behalf of rumors! Grow up kid, I’m sure the football program will do fine.

        • The truth and nothing but…

          Huh? Grow up? Didn’t know the once Angelus League power house is now a sore spot. Anyway, didn’t mean to cause trouble, Congrats on the softball title and good luck in football.

      • huh?

        What does football have to do with the girls’ softball team and their achievement? What a troll.

        • The truth and nothing but…

          Huh? Troll? What does a troll have to do with softball and football? Sorry I brought up football figured softball season was over. I went to Maxpreps to check out St. Paul’s football record the last two seasons. Now I understand!

  • CIF blows it again. Why not have this game closer to the schools? I would attend, but im not going all the way to Irvine.

    God forbid you have the game at a neutral site near the schools. It’s not like you’d want the student bodies to appear.

    • Yellow Balls

      Game already happened! St Paul won 2-1