Newport Mesa finishes strong

The Newport Mesa girls' softball 8U All-Star team recently completed an unprecedented run and placed third in the combined Los Angeles-South Bay/Orange County District "C" Championships in Long Beach.

No other team from NMGS has ever placed as high as third in the district championships at the 8U level.

Leading up to the championships, the local all-star team played in a series of tournaments to prepare for the district championships. Although NMGS is a much smaller league than most of its competition, the team known as "the Sunshine Girls," was the semifinalist in the Capistrano Valley Memorial weekend tournament. The Sunshine girls were also champions of the Vista San Diego tournament, as well as quarterfinalists in the prestigious Irvine Summer Classic, and semifinalists in the very competitive Fountain Valley tournament.

In the LA-South Bay/Orange County District Championships, the eventual third-place team, consisting mostly of 8- and 9-year olds, played seven games over a three-day period to advance to the final game of the second-chance bracket, and were one hit away from advancing to a berth in the state championships.

The team opened with a first-round win over eventual fifth-place Pico Rivera, 8-2, but lost in the second round to eventual fourth-place Norwalk, 8-1, to drop into the second-chance bracket. In the second day of the competition, NMGS won two elimination games over host Los Altos/Long Beach, 8-3, and Capo Valley, 7-1.

On the final day of the competition, the NMGS All-Stars won back-to-back elimination games over eventual sixth-place Manhattan Beach, 7-2 and Norwalk, 4-3, to advance to the final of the second-chance bracket against Palos Verdes.

Although the final day's back-to-back-to-back games took its toll on the local girls, NMGS had bases loaded with two outs in the last inning, needing only one hit to advance to the championship game and the state finals as well. Alas, the hit did not come, but the team had a season to remember and showed signs that NMGS could be a contender in the state championships in the years to come.

The NMGS 8U All-Star team was coached by Manager Mike Santley and assistant coaches Steve Tumbarello and Troy Metcalf.

The team was led by pitchers Madison Santley and Sydney Jensen; catchers Caroline Leber and Peyton Burger; first baseman Riley Orcutt; second baseman Nicole Ryu; shortstop Audrey Tumbarello; third baseman Jacqueline Knox; and outfielders Megan Chelf, Katie Metcalf and Shea Hueston.

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Newport Hills Wins Relay Finals

The Newport Hills Swim Team won the Relay Finals by six points June 25 at Corona del Mar High.

The South Coast Swim Conference brought all five member teams (Greenbrook Gators, Green Valley Dolphins, Harbor View Dolphins, Lake Forest II Dolphins and the Newport Hills Killer Whales) together to participate in the Relay Finals.

The meet was a nail-biter from start to finish, and the outcome was uncertain until the last race of the day. When it was announced that defending Relays Finals champ Newport Hills was again the winner, all gasped as the final score showed the narrow victory by only six points over the Green Valley Dolphins of Fountain Valley. After 60 official races, the six-point win was the difference between a first-place victory and a third-place finish in just one race.

Of the 12 different age-groups divisions, Newport Hills won six (the under-6 girls, the under-6 boys, the 7-8 boys, the 9-10 girls, the 9-10 boys and the 11-12 boys), Green Valley captured three (the 11-12 girls, the 13-14 girls and the 15-18 boys), Harbor View took two (the 7-8 girls and the 13-14 boys) and Lake Forest was a winner in one (the 15-18 girls).

Seven different Relays Finals records were shattered on the day, six by Green Valley (three in the 11-12 girls' division and three in the 15-18 boys' group) and one by the Killer Whales.

The Newport Hills foursome of Matt McKinnon, Brett Greenlee, Danny Robertson and Taylor Cortens established a new meet record in the 13-14 boys' freestyle relay event with a time of 1:39.51, breaking the old record set by Green Valley swimmers in 2006.

Killer Whale Coach Michelle Sperling coined the win the perfect complete team victory, as the efforts of every individual swimmer were needed to regain the crown, and cited the loyalty of numerous older swimmers who left previous engagements early to assure additional points for the team.

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