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SCCS headed to Div. VII playoffs

Cardinals softball ends season on roll, look to continue in postseason

Posted: May 17, 2009 8:57 p.m.
Updated: May 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The Santa Clarita Christian softball team has officially made the CIF-Southern Section Division VII postseason, and the Cardinals had to overcome adversity to do it.

Starting catcher and co-captain Christine Kash has been out since breaking her finger during practice on May 7, and the team struggled in a loss to Providence the day after.

But Santa Clarita Christian closed the season with dominant victories over Los Angeles Lutheran and Hillcrest Christian, and finished 12-6 overall and 10-4 in the Liberty League, good for second place.

Defending CIF-SS Div. VII champion Viewpoint won the league with a 14-0 record.

"We took a step back but we finished strong," said SCCS head coach Ali Aguilar. "We're trying to get (Kash) back for the playoffs next week. The kids definitely stepped up."

Hope International-bound Carly Asher has been particularly impressive. The starting pitcher finished the season with a 12-6 record, including a 1.35 ERA over 109 innings pitched. Her opponents' batting average was a meager .141, and she struck out 198 batters while allowing 13 extra-base hits and 19 walks.

Asher was equally impressive at the plate, hitting .407 with 17 RBIs and a team-leading 25 runs and 29 stolen bases.

"Carly Asher has stepped up not just with her pitching but with her hitting," Aguilar said.

Before the injury, Kash was leading the team with a .479 average and 23 RBIs. She also had the team's only two home runs and an on-base percentage of .590.

Infielder Kaitlyn Preheim finished the season hitting .422 with 24 runs, 19 hits and 20 RBIs. She also stole 21 bases, while fellow infielder Amanda Mothershead hit .386 with 22 runs and 22 hits.

Heather Sanna, Haley Heerdt and Brenna O'Neill each finished the season with batting averages above .300.

The Cardinals committed 41 errors, but Aguilar is confident in his ball club heading into the postseason.

"We're very excited to go in the playoffs," he said. "We're looking forward to moving forward and seeing how much damage we can do."

The Santa Clarita Christian baseball team is looking forward to the future as well, although the 2009 season is officially over after the Cardinals finished 5-12 and fourth in the Heritage League.

The three teams ahead of Santa Clarita Christian were Milken Community, Faith Baptist and Hillcrest Christian, and all three were regularly ranked in the CIF-Southern Section Division VII polls.

The Cardinals had seven freshmen and three first-year seniors on their roster, and two of their top three pitchers, Dillon Lawrence and Ryan Fullarton, were both freshmen.

"We looked good at times," said SCCS head coach Garrick Moss. "We had some great highlights, but in the long run we just couldn't keep up with experienced teams."

Senior Trevor Gilmore was the lone returning starter from 2008's league championship squad. Gilmore hit .312 with 10 hits and 13 runs in his final season.

Junior Micah Secor led the Cardinals with a batting average of .400 and 18 hits, while Lawrence led the team with 14 RBIs.

Senior Joe Grayem had an outstanding season at the plate as well, hitting .341 with two home runs and 13 RBIs.

Junior Devin Moore led the squad with 19 runs scored, and he led the pitching staff with 34 innings pitched. Fullarton's 5.88 ERA was the lowest on the team.

Lawrence racked up a 3-5 record with 35 strikeouts, while Moore had 33. The staff as a whole issued 97 walks.

"A lot of our pitching problems came when we just booted the ball around too much at times," Moss said. "Walks came back to hurt us.

"I'm really excited about the future. All those teams (atop the league) have a majority of juniors and seniors. In two years I see us being right in the mix for making a run in our division."


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