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Roosevelt softball team wins Division 1 title with improbable seventh-inning rally

Roosevelt softball team wins Division 1 title with improbable seventh-inning rally

IRVINE — A Roosevelt victory seemed improbable when the bottom of the seventh inning started.

But a “team of destiny” made the improbable happen in a blink of an eye Saturday.

  • The Roosevelt team celebrate with the CIF-SS Division 1 softball...

    The Roosevelt team celebrate with the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship plaque after defeating Los Alamitos in the bottom of the seventh inning at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Roosevelt’s Jordan Elias scores the winning run against Los Alamitos...

    Roosevelt’s Jordan Elias scores the winning run against Los Alamitos in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Roosevelt’s Emily Carr connects to drive in 3 runs in...

    Roosevelt’s Emily Carr connects to drive in 3 runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship against Los Alamitos at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Roosevelt’s Marissa Morales, left, and Jordan Elias, right, celebrate after...

    Roosevelt’s Marissa Morales, left, and Jordan Elias, right, celebrate after scoring to win the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship against Los Alamitos at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Roosevelt’s Marissa Morales, right runs past Los Alamitos catcher Allyssa...

    Roosevelt’s Marissa Morales, right runs past Los Alamitos catcher Allyssa Ramos, left, to score the tying run against Los Alamitos in the bottom of the seventh inning in the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Roosevelt softball players celebrate winning the CIF-SS Division 1 softball...

    Roosevelt softball players celebrate winning the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship against Los Alamitos in the bottom of the seventh inning at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Roosevelt softball players celebrate winning the CIF-SS Division 1 softball...

    Roosevelt softball players celebrate winning the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship against Los Alamitos in the bottom of the seventh inning at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Alamitos third baseman Giselle Alvarez misplays a grounder against...

    Los Alamitos third baseman Giselle Alvarez misplays a grounder against Roosevelt in the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Alamitos’ Juliet Holcomb scores a run against Roosevelt in...

    Los Alamitos’ Juliet Holcomb scores a run against Roosevelt in the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Alamitos’ Taylor Johnson, right, rounds third on her way...

    Los Alamitos’ Taylor Johnson, right, rounds third on her way home after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning against Roosevelt in the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Alamitos third baseman Giselle Alvarez fields a high grounder...

    Los Alamitos third baseman Giselle Alvarez fields a high grounder by Roosevelt in the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Alamitos left fielder Malayna Terrones makes a diving catch...

    Los Alamitos left fielder Malayna Terrones makes a diving catch of sinking line drive by Roosevelt in the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Alamitos’ Callie Fitzpatrick, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting...

    Los Alamitos’ Callie Fitzpatrick, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run against Roosevelt in the fifth inning in the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Roosevelt’s Kayla Lyon fields, left, a grounder against Los Alamitos...

    Roosevelt’s Kayla Lyon fields, left, a grounder against Los Alamitos in the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Alamitos pitcher Sydney Saldana delivers a pitch against Roosevelt...

    Los Alamitos pitcher Sydney Saldana delivers a pitch against Roosevelt in the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Roosevelt pitcher Priscilla Llamas delivers a pitch against Los Alamitos...

    Roosevelt pitcher Priscilla Llamas delivers a pitch against Los Alamitos in the CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • The Roosevelt team poses for a photo with their CIF-SS...

    The Roosevelt team poses for a photo with their CIF-SS Division 1 softball championship plaque at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

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Roosevelt was three outs away from a second consecutive loss in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 softball championship game. The Mustangs conjured up some magic, however, scoring four runs during that final frame to pull out a 5-4 victory over Los Alamitos before a standing-room crowd at Barber Park.

Emily Carr cleared the bases with a sharp single to right-center field to bring home the final three runs and secure the program’s first section championship

“For me, I just knew I had to focus in. I had been ahead of the ball all game,” said Carr, who delivered a walk-off sacrifice fly in the quarterfinals. “I was telling myself to get on top and hit the ball into right-center. We don’t need home runs now. I just needed to get one to the right side, and luckily that is what I did.”

Roosevelt (28-3) squandered several scoring opportunities throughout the game, leaving 10 runners on the bases over the first six innings. Fortunes changed for the Mustangs when they came to bat in the seventh.

Kayla Lyon and Alexia Lopez got the rally started with a pair of singles, and then Marissa Morales drew a walk to load the bases with one out. An infield single by Jordan Elias brought home the first run and cut the deficit to 4-2. Carr took the first pitch from Los Alamitos pitcher Sydney Saldana, and then went with an outside pitch. Carr’s hit easily scored two runs, and Elias ran through a stop sign for the winning run.

“We have talked out this being our destiny this season, and I just told them to believe,” Mustangs coach Mike Smith said. “I told them before the last inning that I’ve coached games where I’ve been down eight or nine runs. We were right in the middle of our lineup, and they can’t hold us down for all seven innings.”

After the game, Smith fought back some tears, tapped his chest and then pointed two fingers to the sky.

“I believe we had some people looking over our shoulder tonight,” said Smith, who became the first coach in CIF Southern Section history to lead three softball programs to titles (also Chino Hills and Chino).

Smith was referring to Sophia Duong, a former Roosevelt softball player who lost her battle with cancer in September of 2021, and Steve Harrington, a renowned high school and travel ball coach and one of Smith’s best friends who died after suffering a heart attack in November of 2021. The team posed for pictures after the game with a banner in Duong’s memory and a coach’s bucket with Harrington’s name.

Los Alamitos (24-8) got off to a rollicking start Saturday night. Julie Holcomb led off the game with a bunt single and scored on a double by Jazzy Santos. Taylor Johnson doubled home Santos two batters later. Roosevelt managed to get one of those back in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI single by Lopez.

The scored remained that way until the fifth inning, when Callie Fitzpatrick ripped a solo home run down the line in left field. Johnson then hit a solo blast to straightway center field in the top of the sixth inning.

Roosevelt left the bases loaded in the first inning and two more in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

“Give Los Alamitos a lot of credit for that. They made some great plays to get out of jams,” Smith said.

Roosevelt was on the opposite side last season, losing 3-2 to Esperanza on a walk-off hit in the seventh.

“Since the season started, we have been talking about redemption,” Lopez said. “We have come back before, so we never lost hope tonight. I just think every believed in one another, and that faith got us here.”


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