Earlier this season, the Providence High softball team was ranked No.
1 in CIF Southern Section Division VI.
However, some struggles during Liberty League play knocked the
Pioneers out of the top 10.
In a first-round playoff game Friday, Providence took on the top
team in the division, and the result wasn’t good for the locals.
With some of its players missing because of prom, visiting
Providence was defeated by Capistrano Saddleback Valley Christian,
9-0, to end the Pioneers’ season.
Providence Athletic Director Andrew Bencze said athletes who
compete in sports at the school are normally required to attend all
of their team’s games during the season. However, an exception was
made so the softball players could attend the prom Friday night.
“The prom is one of those special occasions for the players,” said
Bencze, who added the school also makes exceptions for players taking
academic tests and going on sponsored religious retreats. “The prom
is a once-in-a- lifetime thing, and we can’t keep them from going if
they want to.”
Against the Warriors (21-1), the Pioneers had only 12 of their 18
athletes, with senior utility players Candice Koeth and Shannon Hayes
the key starters who missed the game because of prom.
Saddleback Valley Christian -- which captured the San Joaquin
League championship -- collected 10 hits and scored a run in the
first inning, two in the fourth and five in the fifth to take a big
Pioneer pitchers Lauren Suedkamp and Monica Valdes had trouble
silencing the Saddleback Valley Christian hitters, as they came into
the game with a .401 team batting average.
The Pioneers’ best chance to score came in the fourth inning, when
Ashlei Limbaga tripled. However, she was doubled off base and
Providence couldn’t mount a threat after that.
The only other Pioneer hit came from Liz Roche, who singled in the
The team was also hampered by four errors.
It was the second-straight season Providence (15-7) has been
knocked out of the playoffs in its second postseason contest. In 2002
-- when Providence won the Liberty League championship -- the
Pioneers were defeated by Ontario Christian, 13-1, in a Division V
second-round game at Olive Park.
It was the first time in six years the team made it past the first
Providence came into the playoffs after finishing third in league
The Warriors’ only loss this season came March 15, when they lost
to Downey Calvary Chapel, 10-5, in the Arrowhead Christian
Tournament. It was the team’s first game of the season.
Providence 12, San Gabriel Mission 9: Coming away with a win is
all Providence High softball Coach Maggie Boozel expected of her
Although the Pioneers didn’t turn in a dominating effort, they did
make their coach proud.
Battling back from a one-run deficit in the bottom of the sixth
inning, Providence defeated visiting San Gabriel Mission Wednesday in
a CIF Southern Section Division VI wild-card game at Olive Park.
The teams met in the CIF playoffs last year, with Providence
winning, 3-0, on a no-hitter by Pioneer pitcher Candice Koeth.
“Our bats were definitely alive today,” Boozel. said of her team,
which had 10 hits.
Providence -- the third-place team from the Liberty League --
jumped to an early lead in the first inning by scoring five runs,
thanks to four walks and four hits. The hits were turned in by Lauren
Suedkamp, Stefanie Cowan, Tania Aziz and Shannon Hayes.
San Gabriel Mission (9-12), which finished third in the Horizon
League, fought back and led, 9-8, going into the bottom of the sixth
inning. However, Providence scored four times in the inning to take
back the lead.
Lead-off hitter Danielle Austin got the Providence rally started
by doubling to right field. Koeth, Cowan and Blair also singled in
the inning, with Cowan’s two-run hit scoring Monica Valdes and Ashlei
“Our girls made some miscues, but overall we played really good
defense” Providence assistant coach Jay Creps said.
“Our center fielder [Limbaga] has played maybe two or three games
all year, and she did a terrific job.”
Providence also welcomed the return of Austin, its freshman
starting catcher, who had been out of action the past two weeks with
a fractured nose.
Creps also praised Hayes, who has been Providence’s
jack-of-all-trades and played left field Wednesday.
“We’ve put Shannon Hayes at every position and she always does a
great job,” Creps said.
Suedkamp, Providence’s starting pitcher, improved to 9-5.
Valdes, who came on in relief, picked up her fourth save.