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In the News: NHS Girls' Softball Team Secures CIF Title

NHS Softball Team


The Norco softball team once again found some late-inning magic on offense. The Cougars were held in check for the first sixth innings of Saturday's CIF-SS Division 1 championship game. Norco was down to its final out in the top of the seventh inning, but the Cougars pushed four runs across to pull out a 4-2 victory over Valencia West Ranch. The title is the program’s fourth and third in Division 1 since 2009.

“I really thought we were dead,” Norco coach Rick Robinson said about entering the final inning with only two hits. “This has been a roller coaster season, and we took everyone on a roller coaster here today, so that's fitting. The best part of a roller coaster is the end.”

West Ranch pitcher Lexi Sorensen stymied the Cougars (27-8) with her power pitches and change-ups, but she lost command in the final inning. Sorensen walked a pair and hit a batter, allowing Norco senior catcher Abby Lockman another opportunity to hit.

Lockman hit a slow roller to short, and she legged it out for a single. Sorensen then hit Mikayla Allee with a pitch to tie the score. West Ranch coach Bob Shults went to his bullpen and brought in Makenna Harper.

Kwynn Warner hit a sharp grounder to the right side, and it eluded the outstretched glove of West Ranch second baseman Katie Clinkunbroomer. Warner’s single scored Naomi Hernandez and Lockman.

“I really wasn't thinking much at all,” said Warner said. “I knew as a senior, I needed to step and come up big. I came to Norco for this, to win a title, and now it's happened.”

Norco needed a pair of runs in the seventh to defeat Temecula Great Oak, 3-2, in the second round. The Cougars pulled out a 3-0 win in 10 innings over Garden Grove Pacifica in the quarterfinals. The dramatic finishes continued in the semifinals, as Norco scored three in the sixth versus Anaheim Canyon.

“I can't say enough about the fight this team has shown all year,” Lockman said. “We talked before that final inning, how we needed to pull things together and get it done. It started with a hit here and there and just kept on rolling after that.”

Taylor Dockins picked up her 26th victory of the season, allowing five hits. She retired the side in order in the seventh to close it out.

Harper drove in the first run for West Ranch with a single in the fourth. Her sister Jessica added a solo home run in the sixth inning.

Source: Press-Enterprise