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North softball team uses pitching, defense to capture Division 6 title against Village Christian

IRVINE — The pitcher’s circle often can be the loneliest place on the softball diamond.

North freshman pitcher Remi Martinez rarely feels alone, however, because her teammates provide plenty of support with their exceptional defensive play.

J.W. North third baseman Jade Jorrin, left, celebrates after starting pitcher Remi Martinez, right, catches the last out against Village Christian to win the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North players celebrate with pitcher Remi Martinez (5) after J.W. North defeats Village Christian during the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North players take selfie with the trophy after defeating Village Christian in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North’s Bobbi Arce, left, celebrates with Makayla Noone, after Noone scores from second base on a ground ball error by Village Christian shortstop Gaby Robel during the fifth inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North third baseman Jade Jorrin, left, celebrates with starting pitcher Remi Martinez after Jorrin tags out Village Christian’s Leah Mosley for a double play during the second inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North center fielder Makayla Noone, left, dives in front of left fielder Bobbi Arce to catch a fly ball hit by Village Christian’s Bree Brennan during the fourth inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North shortstop Angelina Martinez (56) congratulates center fielder Makayla Noone, right, for making a diving catch with left fielder Bobbi Arce hit by Village Christian’s Bree Brennan during the fourth inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North third baseman Jade Jorrin, left, tags out Village Christian’s Leah Mosley at third base for a double play during the second inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North shortstop Angelina Martinez, left, throws to first to complete a double play against Village Christian’s Sydney Millman, right, during the fifth inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North shortstop Angelina Martinez, left, celebrates after completing a double play against Village Christian’s Sydney Millman, right, during the fifth inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North starting pitcher Remi Martinez celebrates after the third out against Village Christian during the fourth inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian starting pitcher Bree Brennan throws to a J.W. North batter during the second inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North starting pitcher Remi Martinez throws to a Village Christian batter during the second inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian center fielder Gwynn Swanson leaps but cannot catch a double hit by J.W. North’s Bobbi Arce during the fourth inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North players celebrate after scoring against Village Christian during the fifth inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North players celebrate after third baseman Jade Jorrin, second from left, tags out Village Christian’s Leah Mosley, left, for a double play during the second inning of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

J.W. North players celebrate with pitcher Remi Martinez (5) after J.W. North defeats Village Christian during the CIF Southern Section Division 6 prep softball championship game at Barber Park in Irvine, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Photo by Alex Gallardo, Contributing Photographer)

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Martinez fanned only two batters Friday afternoon, but she registered her third shutout of the postseason because of the defense behind her.

North played error-free ball and turned two double plays, and Makayla Noone’s speed sparked the offense and helped the top-seeded Huskies to a 2-0 victory over Village Christian in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 championship game at Barber Park.

The section championship is the first for the North softball program.

Defense has been a particular strength for North (28-3) throughout the season. The Huskies turned four double plays in a 4-0 semifinal victory over Artesia.

Noone made a spectacular diving catch in center field to take away a double in the fourth inning, and right fielder Mia Mayo threw out a runner at first base to end that inning. Martinez worked down in the zone and recorded 14 outs on the ground, half of them on ground balls to shortstop Angelina Martinez.

“Good pitching plus solid defense… that has been our recipe for success all season long,” North coach Ernie Tamayo said. “Without that defense today, I’m not sure we win this one.”

Village Christian (17-8-1) was never out of the game, thanks in large part to the effort of junior pitcher Bree Brennan. North struggled to connect with Brennan’s rise ball most of the afternoon, and Brennan racked up 15 strikeouts in her six innings of work.

Noone’s legs played a role in both of North’s runs. After drawing a one-out walk in the opening inning, she stole second and moved up to third on a wild pitch on the same play. The Huskies grabbed a 1-0 lead when Angelina Martinez singled to left to bring home Noone.

Noone smacked a two-out double to the gap in the fifth inning. Angelina Martinez reached on an error, and Noone rounded third and easily scored the second run of the game.

“Speed kills, and I’m just looking to cause chaos out there,” Noone said of her aggressive baserunning. “It’s one of my best assets, and it puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”

Village Christian got its leadoff hitter on base three times, but Remi Martinez was unflappable in the circle. Two of those runners were erased on double plays. The third was left stranded at first in the seventh, as Martinez retired the final three batters.

“When a ball gets hit, I know my defense has my back and is going to make those plays,” said Martinez, who allowed only four hits Friday. “It just makes my job so much easier.”

Leah Mosley and Sydney Millman had two hits apiece for Village Christian.

Angelina Martinez, Bobbi Arce and Nicholl Stearns each had two hits for North.

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