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CIF roundup: Esperanza softball upsets No. 1 Norco to reach Division 1 final

Esperanza High’s softball team upset yet another No. 1-ranked opponent on Thursday, June 10.

Now, the Aztecs will get a chance to cement their standing as the best team in the CIF Southern Section.

Senior pitcher Emily Gomez recovered from a rocky first inning to fire a five-hitter and senior center fielder Hannah Coor homered for the second consecutive game as Esperanza stunned top-seeded and host Norco 7-2 in the Division 1 semifinals.

No. 4 seeded Esperanza (21-3) will face Roosevelt, a 7-6 winner against Chino Hills, in the championship game next week at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine. The schedule is expected to be released soon by the CIF Southern Section.

Norco (27-2) entered Thursday riding a 26-game winning streak and having outscored its three playoff opponents 36-1, including an eye-popping 15-1 margin against Los Alamitos.

But the Cougars became the third No. 1-ranked team to fall to the Aztecs this spring.

Esperanza also has defeated previously No. 1-ranked Chino Hills 3-2 and Villa Park, formerly the top-ranked squad in Division 2, 1-0 in the Crestview League.

“The girls on the team knew they could compete,” Esperanza coach Ed Tunstall said after Thursday’s triumph. “They were not intimidated, and they all stepped up.”

Norco scored twice against Gomez in the first inning but didn’t plate another run against the steady senior, who struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.

Esperanza scored seven consecutive runs after falling behind 2-0. Beside the two-run homer by the Oklahoma-bound Coor, the Aztecs received three hits from sophomore shortstop Sharyn Duncan and two from freshman right fielder Taylor Shumaker.

Tunstall noted that eight different players either scored or drove in a run for the Aztecs. Sophomore second baseman Audrey Robles had two RBIs while courtesy runner Makenna Milliman scored a run. “Big team win,” Tunstall said.

Sophomore Mya Perez had two of Norco’s five hits.

Esperanza advanced to its second section final. In 2001, the Aztecs fell in the Division 1 championship to Rancho Cucamonga 1-0 in 12 innings.

Roosevelt finished second to Norco in the powerful Big VIII League.

More updates to come.

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