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SCCS softball rising quickly

Posted: April 18, 2009 10:02 p.m.
Updated: April 19, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
The Santa Clarita Christian softball team has played so well this season the Cardinals have their coach brimming with confidence.
“In our division in CIF, I believe we have a chance to become state champions,” said SCCS head coach Ali Aguilar.

Santa Clarita Christian is currently 6-3 overall and 5-1 in the Liberty League, with the first two losses coming to non-league foes Rolling Hills Prep and Flintridge Prep, followed by a 4-0 setback against Viewpoint in the second league game.

Other than that, the Cardinals have outscored their opponents 64-12, with four of the victories coming via the mercy rule.

Senior pitcher Carly Asher, who has earned a full ride scholarship to Hope International, has pitched every game this season and only had to be replaced once. Her ERA is a staggering 1.02, and opponents are only batting .107 against her with just four extra-base hits out of 22 total.

Catcher Christine Kash, a co-captain with Asher, is hitting .478 with 11 hits and 14 RBIs to lead the Cardinals at the plate, and she has the Cardinals’ lone home run this season.

Outfielder Heather Sanna is batting .444 with eight hits and eight RBIs, while Asher, Heather McCain, Kaitlyn Preheim and Amanda Mothershead are also all hitting .300 or better. Preheim is second on the team with 11 RBIs, and Asher leads the Cardinals with 15 stolen bases.

“From the beginning of the year, their commitment for excellence has been top-notch,” Aguilar said. “We’ve turned two or three pages since we came together. We can do some damage in the playoffs.”

The baseball team has a tougher hill to climb, having fallen back to the pack after winning the Heritage League title a season ago.

The Cardinals are currently 3-7 and 0-4 in the league due in large part to their youth. SCCS lost a pair of ace pitchers in Brock Heerdt and Nick Brando to graduation, along with several big bats.

“Knowing that we graduated those key guys and our best three hitters, I knew it was going to be a difficult year,” said SCCS head coach Garrick Moss. “I thought we would have the shot to make the playoffs.”

Santa Clarita Christian still does. Milken Community and Faith Baptist have set themselves apart from the rest of the league with their torrid starts to the season, but Moss is fully confident his team can compete for third place and the guaranteed playoff spot that goes with it.

Leading the way will be a pair of freshman pitchers, Dillon Lawrence and Ryan Fullarton. Lawrence’s 4.30 ERA leads the team, and opponents are only hitting .208 against Fullarton, with a .269 on-base percentage.

Junior Devin Moore is the third member of the Cardinals’ rotation, and his ERA currently sits at 5.76. Moore is also leading the team with nine hits and 11 runs to go along with a .391 batting average.

Senior Joe Grayem, one of three Cardinals out for baseball for the first time as seniors, has seven RBIs and shares the team lead with Lawrence, while Trenton Garrison is hitting .400 with three runs and four RBIs.

Garrison is one of seven freshmen on the team.

“That is a positive as far as the future,” Moss said. “But that is made it a challenging year.”

Junior Micah Secor is hitting .350, while Lawrence and Fullarton are both batting more than .300 as well.

Senior Trevor Gilmore, a second baseman who played for last season’s league championship team, has been a steadying force as team captain.

The Cardinals will next play Hillcrest Christian at 3:15 p.m. Monday as they continue their playoff push.

The Santa Clarita Christian volleyball team is off to an 0-10 start, but the trio of Adam Manning, Jonathan McCarty and Rudy Acosta hopes to lead the team to its first victory soon.

Manning is the team captain, and McCarty is improving as the middle blocker while Acosta has already become a standout back row player despite playing volleyball for the first time this season.

The team suffered the loss of Owen Jessup in the first game of the season, but as Jessup goes through physical therapy to rehab his knee injury, he still makes it out to practices and games.

“Though it’s always hard to see your team struggle throughout the season, I am grateful for everyone on the team,” said head coach Jason McMillen. “They have shown consistent improvement so far and I know if we continue, they will know what it feels like to win.”

jgulino@the-signal.com

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