PREP SOFTBALL: Lady Cougars stopped Amaral’s no-hitter … Banning on the road for quarterfinals … Lady Broncos two wins away from championship game.

One swing could have changed it all.

Chino Don Lugo High School pitcher Crystal Amaral took a no-hitter into the final inning against Beaumont High School in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 softball playoff on Wednesday.

But the Lady Cougars didn’t let her get away without a fight.

Trailing 4-0, catcher Alyssa Gonzalez lofted a two-out single to center field. After Julia Shephard walked, left fielder Joey Casey drilled a single to left field to load the bases.

Freshman Priscilla Mora, who had two important doubles in last week’s come-from-behind win over San Bernardino Cajon, came up ready to swing against Amaral.

Mora took a hefty cut, just getting under it. She popped the ball into foul play, caught by the third baseman for the game’s final out.

In a battle of 19-win teams that won their respective league championships, Don Lugo’s 4-0 lead held up as the final score against Beaumont despite the late game drama.

Amaral, injured earlier this season, had a no-hitter against Ontario Chaffey (14 strikeouts).

Over her past dozen games, she’s been dominant. Against Beaumont’s power-laden, .358-hitting team, she struck out 12, walked two and surrendered the two seventh inning singles.

She got help from Ellie Garcia’s run-scoring double. Sarah Velasquez homered and singled home another run. Maddy Flexser knocked home Velasquez with a single against Shephard, the Lady Cougars’ sophomore pitcher.

In nearly 128 innings, Amaral has struck 226 hitters, surrendered 68 hits with an earned run average at 1.15.

Amaral, a senior, is headed for Black Hills (S.D.) College.


Instead of hosting Crean Lutheran today, Banning (18-4) will head to Irvine for a Southern Section Division 6 game against the Lady Saints (3:15 p.m.).

Banning beat No. 2-seeded Victorville University Prep, 8-4, on Tuesday.

A Lady Broncos’ win over Crean Lutheran (16-9) would send Banning into the May 29 division semifinals against either El Modena (17-5) or third-seeded Palmdale Highland (21-6).

Banning has never played in a CIF softball championship.


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