There were three familiar faces in the winner’s circle at the CIF Central Coast Section softball championships at the PAL complex in San Jose
For writeup of Amador Valley’s final game, CLICK HERE.
After a one-year absence, state No. 3 Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) has returned to the queen’s throne in CIF Central Coast Section softball.
With a hard-fought 7-4 Division II victory over a scrappy and rightfully state No. 16-ranked San Jose Pioneer, Mitty (30-1) won its 12th CCS title, the second in three years and seventh in the past nine years.
The Monarchs exploded for four runs in the bottom of the first inning and it looked like they might mercy-rule the Mustangs.
Cal-bound Ms. Softball State Player of the Year candidate Jazmyn Jackson scored the first of her two runs to start things off, and Army-committed junior Madeline Kim (3-for-3, triple, double, RBI) had the inning’s big hit with a triple that drove in junior first-base girl Desiree Severance for the inning’s fourth run.
Things quieted down in the second inning but in the third a Mitty misplayed fielder’s choice and an error opened the floodgates and Pioneer struck for three runs.
Caitlyn Weisner (2-for-4, RBI, run scored) both drove in and scored a run in the Mustangs’ big inning.
When Pioneer snuffed a two-out Mitty rally in the bottom of the third, the packed and raucous Mustang faithful smelled an upset, but their girls couldn’t follow up the third inning momentum with anything in the top of the fourth.
That’s when Mitty put it away with three runs in the bottom of the frame. The decisive blow was a two RBI single by Severance (2-for-4, two RBI, run scored) with two outs.
Pioneer (24-5) scored a run in the top of the seventh, but by then Mitty junior pitcher Stephanie Kristo had taken control.
“Pioneer is a quality young team and they gave us a run for it, and those were some exciting innings, but our girls finished the final process – the final product,” Mitty head coach Brian Yocke told Cal-Hi Sports.
For Jackson, the victory capped a stellar career.
“Like all the Mitty teams I’ve played on this team had a special chemistry. What we came out to do as a team and all I ever wanted personally this year was to win what we call all three seasons — WCAL and league playoffs and then CCS.”
Liggett legend continues
Some questioned the CCS Division I No. 1 seeding for Carlmont (Belmont) over the No. 3 seed for eight-time defending champion San Benito of Hollister, but the Scots took care of business in an 8-1 win that ended the San Benito title-game streak.
The Carlmont victory was the eighth CCS title in school history but the first since 2004. Since then, the Haybalers and Scots have met three times in the CCS title game with San Benito winning each time.
“I can’t say I haven’t yearned for another title but until now it wasn’t in the cards,” said Carlmont head coach Jim Liggett.
With the victory, Liggett, the state’s all-time winningest coach, ends the season with career win No. 962 since 1976 when he took the Carlmont helm.
So will the legendary veteran finally retire?
“Everyone keeps asking me that question, but my answer is the same one I give my wife. I’m taking it one day at a time.”
UC Riverside-bound Carlmont pitching and hitting star Rebecca Faulkner got the job done against San Benito in the circle and at the plate.
Besides throwing a three-hitter with seven strikeouts, Faulkner had two hits including a triple and two runs batted in.
“It was an adrenalin rush all game but it was one of those days when everything was working,” said Faulkner, who retired the first 11 batters.
“Rebecca was really pumped today but not too pumped. She really hit her spots,” Liggett told Cal-Hi Sports.
Carlmont finishes the season 27-3 with San Benito at 23-4-1.
Notre Dame adds to record titles
The 10 a.m. opener at PAL saw two teams that met in the Division III 2012 semifinals, Notre Dame of Salinas and Monterey Santa Catalina, square off in this year’s title game.
Top-seeded Santa Catalina won that 2012 semifinal in mercy fashion en route to the championship, but 2014 was a horse of a different color in an 8-2 Notre Dame victory.
Second-seeded Notre Dame (26-3) scored one run in the top of the first inning and three in the fifth, and after Santa Catalina put a two-spot on the board in the bottom of the fifth, Notre Dame exploded for four runs in the top of the sixth to seal the deal.
The big star for Notre Dame was Sarah Muzik. The Spirits’ junior leadoff batter was on base all five times, going 4-for-4 with a walk, two doubles and three runs scored.
“It’s been a fantastic year with a wonderful group of young ladies. Absolutely pleasurable with only three losses to quality teams,” said Notre head coach Tom Cardinale, who delivers his second straight CCS championship after the Spirits beat Half Moon Bay in last year’s title game.
With the victory, Notre Dame now boasts a record 14 CIF Central Coast Section championships. The Spirits also now have a chance to collect a mythical state title. For the Cal-Hi Sports rankings, they are Division III (Santa Catalina is considered Division IV) and they were No. 2 last week behind No. 1 La Serna of Whittier. La Serna lost in its CIF Southern Section final but lost to No. 4 St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs. Either St. Paul or Notre Dame will be selected D3 State Team of the Year.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend