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Canyon softball wins Carew Classic as Kylee Magee shuts down Orange Lutheran

ANAHEIM >> The Canyon softball team did something Saturday night that it hadn’t done in 31 years by winning the Michelle Carew Classic with a 2-1 victory over Orange Lutheran behind a dominant performance in the circle by pitcher Kylee Magee.

The senior threw a complete game and collected 17 strikeouts in the Gold Bracket final at Peralta Park.

In the semifinals earlier in the day, she struck out 14 in a win over Saint Francis, ranked No. 2 in the nation by MaxPreps.

Canyon coach Jess Carbajal was overcome with emotion as he talked about what it meant to win the tournament that the school hosts as a tribute to one of its former players, Michelle Carew, the daughter of former Angels great Rod Carew. Michelle died in 1996 and Canyon named the tournament the Michelle Carew Classic in 1997.

“This is a great honor,” Carbajal said. “This a great tournament that we’ve hosted for years in honor of Michelle Carew, so for us to actually win this for not only our school, but for her, it’s big.”

Canyon had not won the tournament since 1991.

Canyon’s Bella Fraser, left, was selected as the Most Valuable Player and Kylee Magee was the Most Valuable Pitcher of the Michelle Carew Classic on Saturday, April 2. The Comanches defeated Orange Lutheran 2-1 in the final. (Photo by David Delgado, Contributor)

Orange Lutheran ace Brianne Weiss matched Magee’s dominance most of the game and finished with 13 strikeouts.

She struck out the side in the top half of the first inning, and the Lancers (15-7) then took a 1-0 lead in the bottom half of the inning.

Speedy leadoff hitter Kai Minor reached base safely on an infield single and was brought home by Emi Todoroki two batters later to put Orange Lutheran ahead 1-0.

Magee stepped up to the challenge and exceeded her counterpart’s production in the circle as the game progressed. She struck out the side in the second and sixth innings.

Carbajal marveled at his ace’s resiliency and skill.

“She’s just a tremendous human being and a tremendous leader,” he said, “and she picked up this team to a different level.”

After the first inning, Magee held Orange Lutheran in check for the rest of the game.

In the sixth, Canyon leadoff hitter Bella Fraser hit a double that started the winning rally.

The Comanches loaded the bases for Paloma Saenz, and she placed a bunt in front of Weiss. The pitcher fired the ball to catcher Jordyn Villanueva, but Fraser beat the throw to the plate and the ball got away from Vallanueva.

Sam Gresham, who advanced from second to third on the bunt, alertly raced home on the play to give Canyon (18-3) the lead, 2-1.

“I knew sooner or later, something was going to break open, and then I had the personnel I could actually do a squeeze on and it all worked out,” Carbajal said.

Magee retired the final seven hitters she faced with six of those coming via strikeout.

“This has been an incredible weekend and I know we’re excited to have all this happen here in Anaheim,” Carbajal said, “especially being part of Rod Carew and the whole Carew family members, and that we got to do it (for them). I can’t tell you how many times we’ve played in this tournament (and didn’t win), but today was our day.”

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