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St. Joseph softball falls to Village Christian in CIF-SS Division 6 semifinals

LAKEWOOD — Saint Joseph softball battled but could not overcome a strong all-around performance by Village Christian junior pitcher Bree Brennan, ultimately falling 7-4 at home in the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 semifinals Saturday.

Brennan threw a complete game with 11 strikeouts. She gave up six hits, two walks and four runs over seven innings. The junior pitcher also went 3 for 4 at the plate, with an RBI and one run scored.

Village Christian’s Bree Brennan leads her team to a 7-4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

St. Joseph’s Adamaris Munoz scores a run against Village Christian High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

St. Joseph’s Lizzette Munoz has the out against Village Christian High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Fiona Hemstreet is at bat against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

St. Joseph outfielder Lizzette Munoz come up short against Village Christian High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Gwynn Swanson has the third-inning out during her team’s 7:4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Leah Mosly scores in the seventh inning during her team’s 7:4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

The St. Joseph bench cheers on their teammates against Village Christian High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Bree Brennan leads her team to a 7:4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

St. Joseph’s Eris Garcia is at bat against Village Christian High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Fiona Hemstreet is at bat against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

St. Joseph’s Breanna Ochoa scores a run against Village Christian High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Bree Brennan leads her team to a 7:4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Alina Newman is at bat against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Bree Brennan is surrounded after leading her team to a 7:4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Bree Brennan leads her team to a 7:4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Leah Mosly is at bat against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Bree Brennan is surrounded after leading her team to a 7:4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Gaby Robel is at bat against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

The St. Joseph bench cheers on their teammates against Village Christian High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

St. Joseph’s Eris Garcia pitches against Village Christian High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Gizelle Moreno reaches for the toss to first base against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Bree Brennan leads her team to a 7:4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Gwynn Swanson is at bat during her team’s 7:4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Alina Tellez is at bat against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Leah Mosly scores in the seventh inning during her team’s 7:4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Bree Brennan leads her team to a 7:4 win against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Village Christian’s Fiona Hemstreet scores a run against St. Joseph High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

St. Joseph outfielder Carmen Henderson catches the ball against Village Christian High School in the CIF-SS D6 softball semifinal in Lakewood on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

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“Fantastic job at the plate,” said Village Christian coach John Forgerson. “She’s the No. 3 hitter for a reason. Outstanding heart, determination and guts, she’s got it all.”

Village Christian improved to 17-7-1 and will play JW North in the Division 6 championship game on on Friday or Saturday, May May 20 at Bill Barber Park in Irvine

“It feels great,” Brennan said. “We haven’t gone far the last two years I’ve been here so it’s great to get all the way.”

Brennan credits her team’s success to improved camaraderie.

“I really think it’s because of how close we are. We’ve become closer each year and our bond in general. We’re always there for each other.”

St. Joseph finished the season with a 16-16 record.

“We’re trying to rebuild back to what our history is and these girls are the change,” said St. Joseph second-year coach Don Harper.

In the top of the first inning, Village Christian senior catcher Fiona Hemstreet hit a one-out double. A single by Brennan gave freshman third baseman Leah Mosley the opportunity to hit an RBI single, which scored Hemstreet from third for a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the second inning, St. Joseph starting freshman pitcher Eris Garcia threw a 1-2-3 inning. Garcia threw a complete game with three strikeouts and no walks. She gave up 11 hits and hit one batter.

In the bottom of the second inning, Village Christian’s Brennan struck out the side, despite giving up singles to St. Joseph sophomore catcher Allison Guiterrez and freshman designated player Lauren Merrell.

In the top of the third inning, an RBI single by Brennan scored Village Christian senior shortstop Gaby Robel for a 2-0 lead.

Two batters later, Village Christian sophomore center fielder Sydney Millman delivered an RBI out for a 3-0 lead.

A two-run single by senior right fielder Alina Tellez pushed the Crusaders’ lead to 5-0.

In the bottom of the third inning, St. Joseph sophomore shortstop Breanna Ochoa reached base on an error and moved to second on a passed ball with no outs. However, Brennan retired the next three Jesters to maintain the Crusaders’ 5-0 advantage.

Garcia threw back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth innings to keep St. Joseph within striking distance.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Ochoa beat out a throw to first, which energized her team. An RBI by freshman third baseman Mariah Becerra scored Ochoa from first, cutting Village Christian’s lead to 5-1.

St. Joseph sophomore right fielder Carmen Henderson drove in Becerra from second to make it 5-2 heading into the sixth inning.

Brennan pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.

Village Christian added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning with a two-RBI single by Alina Newman.

Junior second baseman Admaris Munoz and Ochoa drew back-to-back walks in the bottom of the seventh. Brennan struck out freshman Morgan Mora and got Becerra to fly out to center field.

A double by Henderson scored Munoz and Ochoa and cut Village Christian’s lead to 7-4.

However, Brennan got the next batter out by catching an infield pop-up by Guitterez to end the game.

Final: Village Christian 7, Saint Joseph 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 softball semifinals. @presstelegram @BeachVarsity pic.twitter.com/oQ0pEhpJnp

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) May 13, 2023

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