High school sports

History is on Mariners’ side

PACIFICA softball players have plenty to celebrate (GGUSD athletics photo).

By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune

There have been some great sports programs at high schools in the West Orange County area. Edison has been a football powerhouse since the 1970s and La Quinta’s baseball program dominated not just its league but won a handful of CIF-SS titles.

But none of them can compare trophy cases with the softball team over at Lampson and Knott in West Garden Grove, the Pacifica Mariners.

After a 6-3 win over Oaks Christian of West Lake, the M’s are in the CIF-SS Division 1 championship game next weekend in Irvine. They’ll play top-ranked Norco for the title.


Kayli Counts and Annika Sogsti homered for Pacifica and Brynne Nally got the pitching win.

The Cougars have won six straight games and won their semifinal against Mesa High of Murrieta 8-1. The Mariners (22-8) have won six in a row as well.

PHS is no stranger to the spotlight. Seventeen Garden Grove League titles, 13 Empire League crowns and seven CIF-SS titles is quite the resume. The crowning achievement of all are unofficial state and national titles in 1997.

The list of superstars who played at PHS is long and impressive, topped perhaps by Amanda Freed, who was named Gatorade National Female Athlete of the Year and was honored as the best softball pitcher in the world as a senior, throwing five perfect games.

At UCLA she was on a team that won a national title and was runner-up twice. In 2004 she was on the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the Summer Olympics. She later played professional softball, did some coaching and TV color commentary.

Those are tall Nikes to fill. But there is certainly a path blazed by others to follow.

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