Sea Hawks soar to Bay League softball crown [UPDATED]
Redondo Union finished the regular season with a modest five-game winning streak but is using its last loss as preparation for a deep run in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.
The Sea Hawks allowed only two runs in their final four games to win the Bay League championship, moving Coach Jennifer Dessert-McBride’s team into the No. 8 spot in the Division 3 poll as it entered this week’s playoffs.
Redondo (22-6, 90-1) won 14 of its last 16 games, the last defeat coming May 3 in the semifinals of the El Segundo Tournament when the Sea Hawks fell to the host Eagles 13-8 before rebounding to beat Port of Los Angeles 9-8 in the third-place game.
“El Segundo was a tough game for sure, but we used that as learning experience as to how hard our playoff games are going to be,” Dessert-McBride said. “We had some nerves in the beginning and fought them off for a bit —especially tying the game at 7-7 by the third inning. But they did win and I feel that the game against El Segundo showed us that any nerves we have can be channeled in the right direction if we believe we can do it.”
When Redondo resumed Bay League action, the Sea Hawks avenged their only league loss by defeating Palos Verdes 2-1 to move into a first-place tie with the Sea Kings.
After a 22-0 rout of Leuzinger, Redondo shutout rival Mira Costa 5-0 when Taleigh Williams drove in two of the Sea Hawk’s four first-inning runs to give pitcher Kat Ung all the cushion she needed.
Meanwhile, down the road, host West Torrance knocked Palos Verdes out of first place with a 1-0 victory.
Redondo secured the league title Thursday, once again using a single-inning outburst scoring five runs in the fifth inning to defeat host Peninsula 6-1.
In the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday, Redondo (23-6) used a 14-hit attack to eliminate visiting Arcadia 11-1 in a mercy-rule shortened five-inning game.
Williams’ three-run home run in the third inning gave Redondo some breathing room before the Sea Hawks burst out for seven runs in the fourth innuing highlighted by Allison Betty’s two-run double.
Ung tossed a three-hitter surrendering a solo home run for Arcadia’s lone score. She also had three hits in three plate appearances to help her cause.
Redondo advances to the second round on Thursday and will host No. 10 Highland, who beat Pioneer League power Torrance with a come-from-behind 5-4 victory in 12-inning marathon.
Quarterfinals will be played Saturday, the semifinals on Tuesday and the finals on May 30 or 31 at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine. All games with the exception of the finals are slated to begin at 3:15 p.m.
While Ung has been the ace in the circle for Redondo, the team has relied heavily on strong defense and key hits. Sophomore Betty is the Sea Hawk’s top hitter and RBI leader.
“Brigid Antonelli has been exploding at bat,” Dessert-McBride said. “She has been a key factor in our first inning scoring. When your number one batter gets on, it ignites the team. Our success has also been due to all members of our hitting lineup contributing. Morgan Moczygemba, Taleigh Williams have been right there with Allison in getting key hits and large RBIs for our team. Kat Ung, Haley Reed and Breanna Miskimen consistently step up and get the job done.”
Dessert-McBride is confident that the faith developed from the success of the season puts her team in a position to win each game.
“We are experiencing our most successful season that I have coached,” Dessert-McBride said. “I feel that the girls are as hungry as I am to win.”
Division 3 is loaded with talented teams from the South Bay including No. 5 El Segundo and No. 7 North Torrance, co-champions of the Pioneer League.
El Segundo (21-7) escaped an opening-round upset by visiting Fullerton (17-12) with a 2-1 victory in nine innings. After Julia Roach doubled to open the bottom of the ninth innings, Tess Von Flue’s walk-off single scored pinch runner Emily Skulick with the winning run.
The Eagles travel to Grand Terrace (20-6) for a second-round game on Thursday.
North (26-7) defeated visiting Rialto 12-2 in a six-inning game on Tuesday. Sydney Overly and Veronica Garcia combined for a two-hitter. Bryanna Ybarra went 4 for 5 with three RBI and Taylor Cairns went 3 for 3 with three RBI andf twop runs scored to lead the Saxons.
North will host Chaminade (16-7-1) in the second round.
Bay League runner-up Palos Verdes defeated Kaiser 7-3 in a wild-card game Monday then elimintated host La Habra 5-1 on Tuesday. Palos Verdes (22-6) will host top-seeded Burbank (22-3) on Thursday.
West Torrance (14-16) beat Paso Robles 7-3 in its wild-card game but was shut out 3-0 at No. 3 La Serna.
At-large berth winner Mira Costa (16-15) eliminated Pioneer Valley 12-4 in its wild-card game. Shannon Savino went 2 for 2 with two runs scored and three RBI for the Mustangs.
Mira Costa traveled No. 4 St. Paul on Tuesday but saw its season come to an end with a 7-1 loss.
In Division 6, Chadwick (11-6) opened the playoffs with a 16-5 rout at Oxford Academy. The Dolphins advance to host No. 6 Mary Star of the Sea (14-6-1), a 10-0 winner over San Gabriel Mission.
Brackets and results are available at cifss.org.