Valley News -

By JP Raineri
Sports Editor 

Great Oak baseball, softball both headed to CIF Southern Section semifinals


Last updated 5/16/2019 at 5:54pm

Time Stood Still Photography

Great Oak starter Michael Shanahan picked up the win over Long Beach Poly, helping the Wolfpack advance to the quarterfinal round of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs.

For the first time in school history both Great Oak High School softball and baseball, together, are just one game away from the final game of the CIF Southern Section playoffs. Coach Eric Morton has been here before with his baseball program, back in 2006, but it's the first time for the softball program and the finish line is close. In 2006 Morton's squad fell to Campbell Hall in the Division 6 finals, 5-4.

For the baseball team to get to this point, they really started to gain momentum in the second round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs, which got underway Tuesday, May 7, for the Division 3 playoffs. Great Oak found success against the Jackrabbits of Long Beach Poly High School in that game as the Wolfpack, the fourth seed in Division 3, turned a close game into a not-so close game when they scored four runs late in the game by taking advantage of four hits, four walks and a couple errors. 

Great Oak starter Michael Shanahan allowed just two hits and a run in four innings. Blake Bambrick would pitch in relief and didn't surrender a hit in his three innings on the bump. Offensively Great Oak went ahead in the second inning when Jacob Fisher doubled with one out and scored on Jonah Sebring's single, then two singles, a walk and a Luke Jepsen's sacrifice fly later, which would score junior catcher, Isaiah Lopez, to make it 2-0 in the fourth. 

The Wolfpack would score two more runs in the fifth when Oregon commit, Zach Arnold, scored after third baseman, Edgar Rosales, threw the ball away. Senior Josh Paino who would score next on a Lopez ground out. Great Oak scored two more in the sixth, but that's when the fireworks started for Long Beach Poly. Head Coach Brent Lavoie was tossed in the top of the sixth while arguing a call at the plate and that would not shift any momentum for the Jackrabbits. 

With the win, the Wolfpack (21-9-1) moved on to a quarterfinal showdown Friday, May 10, at Northview High School (15-11). Great Oak's No. 1 starter, Cameron Mabee, a four-year varsity player who will attend California State Polytechnic University Pomona in the fall, went the distance where he had a no-hitter through five innings and wound up allowing just two hits and struck out 10 when the dust cleared. Mabee now has a record of 8-3 on the year and a 1.17 ERA. Fourth-seed Great Oak has won nine of their last 10 games, advancing the furthest they have made it for the first time since 2006. Morton and his pack will now take on Yorba Linda High School, which knocked off top-seed Serra High School of Gardena 11-7 last week.

"We're excited," Morton said. "We started the season with five wins in a row, and I told these guys we want to finish with five in a row. We enjoyed a great Mother's Day weekend and got back to work this week."

On the girls' softball fields, the road to the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 1 softball playoffs has been one of big wins and nail-biting thrillers for the ladies of Great Oak, which held true in their quarterfinal match-up against Santa Margarita High School Thursday, May 9.

The Lady Wolfpack softball team took to the road to face Santa Margarita who had beat Oaks Christian High School in the second round of the playoffs, 8-3, where both teams knew it was going to be a battle. Great Oak (25-3-1), the No. 2-seeded Southwestern League champions got out to a huge lead, knocking back the Lady Eagles 7-1 going into the sixth inning, but the Santa Margarita (25-4) who won the Trinity League title this year, would not go down quietly.

Santa Margarita scored twice in the sixth to cut Great Oak's lead to 8-7 when pitcher, Bella Fiorentino, drove in her second run with an RBI groundout which was followed with a two-out single by Angie Yellen to plate another run. That's when Mata Faapito, who will be playing at New Mexico State University next year, did what she has done best all season, retiring the Lady Eagles in order in the seventh inning to earn the victory.

Time Stood Still Photography

Great Oak pitcher, Mata Faapito, starts celebrating after the Lady Wolfpack's CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinal playoff win over Santa Margarita.

Great Oak's Kayla Edwards belted her 15th home run of the season in the first inning which was followed up by senior Candace Yingling's RBI double. It was Holly Fisher that had a day for the Lady Wolfpack though when she capped off a five-run third inning with a two-out, two-run double. Fisher also led off the sixth with a homer to right center, her fifth of the year, to extend Great Oak's lead to 8-5, which gave the visiting ladies some breathing room. Santa Margarita started their comeback in the fourth by scoring four runs sparked by Jessica Good who lead off the inning with a solo home run, but it wouldn't be enough as Great Oak took the victory, sending them the farthest into the playoffs they have ever been.

The Lady Wolfpack will play in their first ever Division 1 CIF-SS semifinal game this week, taking their No. 2 ranking in California up against Gahr High School of Cerritos, which is ranked No. 10. The Lady Gladiators beat Corona Santiago High School in their quarterfinal match-up 4-3 Thursday, May 9. More information on the CIF-SS playoffs can be found at

JP Raineri can be reached by email at [email protected]


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