St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs and St. Bonaventure of Ventura pulled off stirring victories to win CIF-Southern Section softball championship May 30 at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.
St. Paul (28-4-1) won the Division 3 title — its first since 1988 — by beating La Serna 2-1 for its 15th straight win, led by pitcher Koreen Orozco’s two-hitter and RBIs by Krystal Gutierrez (double) and Niko Walker (sacrifice fly). St. Paul gained the Division 3 final by beating Palos Verdes 10-0 in the semifinals May 27.
St. Bonaventure (which ended the season 25-4) defeated Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary 4-3, to win the Division 6 crown, its first-ever CIF softball title. Kayla Garcia delivered the walk-off single to score Cece Flinn and cap a three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth, after the Cardinals — with doubles by Sabrina Gomez and Serena Meehan — took a 3-1 lead in the top of the eighth.
The game — which featured a tremendous pitching duel between St. Bonaventure’s Cielo Meza and Cantwell Sacred Heart’s Amanda Garcia — followed an all-Catholic semifinal round May 27. Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary (which ended the season 21-8) outlasted Bellarmine-Jefferson of Burbank, 5-3 in nine innings, while St. Bonaventure beat Pomona Catholic 6-4.
Two Catholic schools have a chance to win CIF-Southern Section baseball titles on June 6 at Dodger Stadium, after winning their semifinal games June 3.
In the Division 1 games played at Blair Field in Long Beach, Santa Margarita blanked Trabuco Hills 3-0 to earn the final against Foothill, which topped J.Serra, the Trinity League champion and top-seed entering the playoffs, 4-1.
Santa Margarita, Trinity League runnerup, is 19-10-1, while Foothill, Century League champion, is 22-10.
In Division 3, Bishop Amat defeated Redondo Union 3-1, and will play Palm Desert for the championship. Bishop Amat (20-11) tied with Serra for the Del Rey League title and has won nine straight. Palm Desert (26-6), the Desert Valley League champion, began the playoffs as the No. 1-seeded team and has won 16 straight.
The Bishop Amat-Palm Desert game is scheduled at 2 p.m., with Santa Margarita vs. Foothill at 8 p.m.
The May 30 quarterfinals results included the following:
—Division 1: J.Serra beat Edison 2-0, and Santa Margarita stopped Norco 6-2.
—Division 3: Bishop Amat defeated Quartz Hill 5-2.
—Division 5: Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary lost to Oak Hills 9-5.