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Local softball teams prepare for CIF quarterfinals

Posted: May 22, 2008 1:23 a.m.
Updated: July 23, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Hart vs. Norco
For Hart's softball team, the desire for a CIF-Southern Section Division I championship title is evident.

The Indian's continue their trek to the finals but will have to get by a formidable Norco team in today's quarterfinals game at home.

The two teams have quite a history, both recording wins against each other, as the Cougars defeated Hart in the second round of playoff action three years ago and last year Hart knocked off Norco in the semifinals.

Hart has never won a CIF title and this year's team has the weapons and - most importantly - the motivation to make it happen.

"This will be a full team effort," said Hart head coach Steve Calendo. "The squad is self-motivated and they want to get there. They have a goal in mind to get the CIF championship."

The two squads will be battling it out at the mound as both teams preeminent pitchers will make for two solid performances.

"Norco is very solid in pitching," Calendo said. "They are very well coached in that area."

Hart will be led by junior Destiny Rodino, who in the team's second round game on Tuesday, pitched a complete game shut-out against Mater Dei striking out seven and allowing no hits.

The Cougars', meanwhile, will be guided by junior pitcher Teagan Gerhart.

With solid pitching and hitting on both sides, Calendo said it will come down to the efforts of the defense.

"We anticipate a low scoring game," he said. "The pitchers are going to dominate the game and who ever makes the errors will lose the game."

But more than ever, since the beginning of the post season, the team has relied on its preparation and dedication to attain its goal.

"I told the team to trust in the fact that they are prepared and they have worked hard." Calendo added.

"They are going to have to rely on each other out there. We're not over-confident, we're just ready."

Valencia vs. Corona
The 2007 CIF-Southern Section Division I champion Valencia Vikings softball team is on a mission-to win another title.

The No. 3 seeded Vikings (26-5) have advanced to the quarterfinal round and will face Corona (24-9), the third place finishers in the competitive Mountain View League, at home.

The two squads have only met once before and that was back in 2005 in a tournament where the Vikings were victorious over the Panthers.

Valencia's line-up consists of only three starters from last year's championship team, but Valencia head coach Donna Lee says that this year's team has a lot more strength offensively.

"The biggest difference from last years team to this years team is that there is a lot more offensive production," Lee said.

But according to Lee, the Panthers' offense looks to be just as dominant.

"They are very strong at bat and aggressive at the plate," she said. "We're relying on a strong defense and a very active offense."

With Corona's potent line-up Lee said the team can not afford to repeat it's last victories in the final rounds where the team beat all its opponents 1-0.

But the defending champs are well aware of the stakes and the task at hand.

"The team is confident and they know what they need to do," Lee said. "They have been here before."

This season, Lee loaded the team's schedule with tough games in preparation for the postseason and she says the team is ready.

"When you get to this stage you have to step up," she said. "All of the teams that are left are pretty equal and it all depends on who is going to show up."


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