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    Orange County softball offering plenty of storylines for Michelle Carew Classic this week
    • March 26, 2024

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    The No. 1-ranked softball team in the nation. A pitcher with a perfect game and no-hitter the last two weeks. A defending champion riding an eight-game winning streak into the week.

    Those are just a few of the Orange County storylines for the Michelle Carew Classic, the Canyon-hosted tournament that runs Wednesday through Saturday.

    There are a plethora of other intriguing plots but county observers could be glued to Pacifica, Orange Lutheran pitcher Brianne Weiss and Los Alamitos.

    Pacifica (13-0) enters the week ranked No. 1 in Orange County by The Register, and No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps.

    In early March, the Mariners captured the prestigious Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Ariz. for the first time since 2003.

    Pacifica last won the Carew Classic in 2013.

    Weiss, a Notre Dame signee, pitched a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts in a 7-0 victory against Rosary last week. The week before, she pitched a perfect game with 16 strikeouts in an 8-0 win against Cajon.

    On the season, the left-hander carries an 8-1 record with a 0.60 ERA for the No. 2-ranked Lancers (10-2). Weiss has struck out 106 batters in 58 innings.

    Los Alamitos (13-3), the defending champion of Carew Classic, takes an eight-game winning streak into the week. The Griffins are ranked third in the county.

    “I’m really excited for it,” Los Alamitos third baseman Gabby Terrones said of the tournament. “Last year, we had a good run so we’re just going to keep it going.”

    Most the games will be played at Peralta Canyon Park in Anaheim.

    Ten of the top-11 ranked schools in the county are part of the 29-team tournament.

    One of the best openers Wednesday pits Esperanza, ranked No. 9 in the county, against No. 10 Mission Viejo. The Aztecs defeated the Diablos 7-3 last month.

    The event also features Norco, the top-ranked team in the Inland Empire. The Cougars could have Orange Lutheran transfer pitcher Peyton May, who observed the sitout period.

    St. Francis of Mountain View (7-0), the runner-up last year to Los Alamitos, is the top team from Northern California.

    The quarterfinals start Friday at 3 p.m. with the semifinals to follow Saturday at 1:15 p.m. The championship is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

    Rain is forecasted for Saturday.

    The tournament is named after former Canyon softball player Michelle Carew, daughter of Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew. In April of 1996, she died at age 18 of acute non-lymphocytic leukemia after a seven-month fight.


    The Gold Division championship of the Woodbridge-hosted Dugard Classic is Saturday at 7:15 p.m. at  Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.

    On Monday, Aliso Niguel junior Olivia Kuhnel pitched a three-hitter in 3-0 win against Rosary to help the Wolverines reach the semifinals.


    Huntington Beach coach Jeff Forsberg believes he has found an intriguing catching prospect in freshman Emma Johnson.

    She was slated to play on the junior varsity but has progressed quickly in filling a sudden need on varsity.

    Not only is Johnson catching hard-throwing Zoe Prystajko, she is throwing out several base runners.

    Last week against Los Alamitos, she threw out a runner at second, almost got another at third and made a diving tag at home plate.

    “That kid has dominated behind the plate for us,” Forsberg said. “She throws kids out. … She hits really well, and she’s getting better.”

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    ​ Orange County Register