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Quick Turnaround Takes Woodbridge on a Ride

Times Staff Writer

Irvine Woodbridge’s team felt as if it was on top of the world after upsetting Garden Grove Pacifica on April 21 in the championship game of the Woodbridge tournament. The Warriors won, 4-2, scoring their runs in a second-inning barrage against Brittany Weil, one of the Southland’s best pitchers.

But the Warriors’ emotions drifted back to earth less than 24 hours later, when they managed only one hit in a 4-0 loss to Santa Ana Foothill in the first Sea View League game between the teams.

Although the Knights have won the last 12 Century League titles, they only recently reached .500 this season, so it was Woodbridge’s turn to be on the short end of an upset.

Warrior shortstop Kendra Singley said the adrenaline that flowed against Pacifica probably left her and her teammates drained for the Foothill game.

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“We were kind of worn out,” said Singley, who had a two-run double in the victory over Pacifica. “We also had faced the best pitcher in Orange County the day before and the [Foothill pitcher] was throwing so slow.... We were swinging out of our shoes.”

The loss ended a 10-game winning streak for Woodbridge, unranked by The Times heading into last week. In addition to its victory over then-No. 2 Pacifica, the Warriors upset then-No. 4 El Modena, 4-3, in a nine-inning tournament semifinal April 19.

“El Modena was a big game for us,” said Singley. “After we got that far, the team was really pumped up for Pacifica.”

Singley, a UC Santa Barbara signee, has led Woodbridge (16-8, 3-1) with a .435 batting average, and she is among the region’s leaders with seven home runs, 11 doubles and 21 runs batted in.

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When the Warriors’ offense has been silent, they have been kept in games by senior pitcher Brittany Crouch, who is 13-5 with a 0.70 earned-run average. Crouch and Singley were selected co-most valuable players of the Woodbridge tournament.

Singley capped the four-run rally against Pacifica by lining Weil’s 1-2 pitch into left-center field, scoring Amy Branson and Jessica Simoncini. Singley said she was surprised to make such good contact in that situation.

“I was expecting a lot better pitch,” she said.

The next day, however, the Warriors couldn’t solve Foothill freshman Sara LaRue, who retired the first 16 batters using a combination of changeups and drops.

Woodbridge, which got back on track with a victory April 24 over Newport Harbor, continues league play today at Aliso Viejo Aliso Niguel and Thursday at Irvine.

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Last week’s top-ranked team, Corona Santiago, managed eight hits against Corona last Tuesday in a Mountain View League game but lost, 1-0, in 11 innings.

Santiago’s Taryne Mowatt had a no-hitter through seven innings, but Corona’s Elise Arrietta drove in Christina Marquez with a one-out triple in the 11th.

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Rhonda Luna took a leave of absence earlier this month from her assistant coaching position at La Puente Bishop Amat to make her professional boxing debut April 24 at the Irvine Marriott.

With several Lancer players in attendance, Luna survived three painful head butts before winning a unanimous decision in a four-round featherweight bout.

“It was everything I imagined,” said Luna, who was celebrating her 25th birthday. “I had hoped everything would come together and it did.”

Luna played third base for Bishop Amat and UC Santa Barbara before returning to her alma mater as an English teacher. She began assisting the softball team three years ago, and that’s when she met one of her players’ father, Vic Valenzuela, a former boxer who has since become her trainer.

“Once I finished playing softball in college, team sports were kind of done for me,” Luna said. “Sports had always been a big part of my life, so I was looking for something to do. It has worked out well. I hope to be fighting once a month.”

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It’s something most teams take for granted, but Palos Verdes Estates Rolling Hills Prep is expected to field a full team for today’s game against visiting L.A. Shalhevet.

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The Huskies (4-5) had played their last five games -- winning three -- with only eight players after losing shortstop Emily Yamanishi because of a shoulder injury. She has been cleared to resume play.

The outfield had been reduced to two players, Kristi Terrell and Penny Hlakula, who used their speed to cover large portions of the open field, Rolling Hills Prep co-coach Keith Welker said.

“Every once in a while, a team hit one in the gap,” he said.


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