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Granada Hills softball tops El Camino Real in semifinals, earns chance to win first City title since 1981

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GRANADA HILLS — Granada Hills Charter softball coach Ivan Garcia ran around the postgame team huddle with his arms spread wide. The players beamed as their photo was taken in front of the scoreboard — with each player pointing at the final score.

The Highlanders are back in a City Section championship game after beating El Camino Real for the third time this season, this time 5-2 in the Open Division semifinals at home Tuesday afternoon.

Granada Hills (24-4) will play Carson, which beat Birmingham 12-2 Tuesday, on Saturday at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The Highlanders will be playing for their first City Section title since 1981.

“This season has just been really fun and I’m so proud of all the girls,” sophomore Lainey Brown said. “I love the chemistry of the team. It’s like one big family. You can go up to anyone, say anything and have a good time with everyone.”

Granada Hills starting pitcher Addison Moorman delivers a pitch against El Camino Real during their City Open Division semifinal game May 16, 2023.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

El Camino Real’s Tarryn Macias comes up short on a diving attempt on a fly ball against Granada Hills in their City Open Division semifinal game May 16, 2023.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Granada Hills starting pitcher Addison Moorman is congratulated after striking out an El Camino Real batter in their City Open Division semifinal game May 16, 2023.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Granada Hills starting pitcher Addison Moorman delivers a pitch against El Camino Real during their City Open Division semifinal game May 16, 2023.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Zoe Justman of Granada Hills throws out an El Camino Real hitter during their City Open Division semifinal game May 16, 2023.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Lainey Brown rounds 2nd as she hits an inside-the-park home run against El Camino Real 5-2 in their City Open Division semifinal game May 16, 2023.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Riley Furnance of Granada Hills is congratulated after making a nice play in the outfield against El Camino Real in their City Open Division semifinal game.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

El Camino Real’s Tarryn Macias comes up short on a diving attempt on a fly ball against Granada Hills in their City Open Division semifinal game May 16, 2023.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Malia Plourde of Granada Hills is congratulated after scoring against El Camino Real during their City Open Division semifinal game May 16, 2023.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Riley Furnance makes a diving catch in left field for Granada Hills as they defeat El Camino Real 5-2 in their City Open Division semifinal game.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

El Camino Real’s Amber Rivas is safe at 3rd as Zoe Justman of Granada Hills makes a catch during their City Open Division semifinal game.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

El Camino Real’s Rachel Loth tags out Francesca Luster of Granada Hills during their City Open Division semifinal game May 16, 2023.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Granada Hills softball coach Ivan Garcia leads his team to victory as they defeat El Camino Real 5-2 in their City Open Division semifinal game.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

El Camino Real’s Amber Rivas is safe at 2nd as Jeniece Jimenez of Granada Hills makes a catch during their City Open Division semifinal game May 16, 2023.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

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Jeniece Jimenez and Malia Plourde each went 2 for 3 at the plate for Granada Hills while pitcher Addison Moorman threw a complete game with five strikeouts.

Sarah Delgado (12-5) threw six innings and recorded seven strikeouts for El Camino Real (13-10).

Plourde singled and Brown got on base on an error in the second inning, then Jocelyn Jimenez drove them in with a double for Granada Hills’ first two runs. Delgado, a sophomore, struck out the next hitter to get out of the inning.

“Never bring your head down no matter the situation,” Delgado said. “Always keep your head up because it can really change the game. A pitcher’s mood can affect the whole game and your teammates’ moods.”

The Highlanders scored three more runs in the third inning. Plourde had an RBI single and then Brown added two runs with a home run.

“She balls out every time,” Moorman said of Brown. “I don’t think I’ve seen her ever jog after a ball. She’s always giving 110% effort.”

Jocelyn Jimenez doubles to left field to bring in Malia Plourde and Lainey Browne. Granada Hills takes a 2-0 lead over ECR in the second inning. pic.twitter.com/qLUMhwVenF

— Haley Sawyer (@haleymsawyer) May 16, 2023

The Royals scored in the fifth and sixth innings. Rachel Loth doubled to score Anne Hoke in the fifth and Hoke doubled to drive in Senia Gutierrez in the next inning.

El Camino Real held off the Highlanders for the remaining three innings and allowed only three players to reach base.

El Camino Real loses four seniors on the team to graduation this season, which is significantly less than the 11 seniors that graduated at the end of last season. The Royals started slowly in March, when they went 1-6 in the first seven games, but built up the team cohesion and mindset to get them into the Open Division playoffs as the season went on.

“We have nothing to hang our head about when everybody counted us out,” coach Jody Borenstein said. “Am I disappointed? Of course. But are we going to hang out heads? No. This is a success. This is a successful season for this program.”

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