April 11, 2000 | Updated 8:01 a.m. PT
Woodbridge's New Diamond Is a Real Jewel
MARTIN HENDERSON , Times Staff Writer
The newest softball venue in Orange County really is a shiny new diamond.
Woodbridge High christened its field, located at the Irvine Civic Center, in
its Sea View League opener against Laguna Hills on Wednesday.
The $7-million project, named the Col. Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park,
features Championship Field, which has 700 stadium seats gleaned from the old
Anaheim Stadium. It also has lights, and will eventually include three other
playing fields. It will be the site of next year's 32-team Woodbridge Classic
softball tournament, and might one day be the site of the Southern Section
"We would like to have it as an alternative to [Lakewood] Mayfair Park," said
Woodbridge Coach and Athletic Director Alan Dugard. "This is a softball
stadium, intended to be for softball only. It's deep enough you could play coed
there, but it's not going to be a baseball field. It will never have a mound on
it. It stands to reason there should be a lot of interest using this for
"We're e***d about it."
So, too, are Woodbridge's opponents.
After the Warriors defeated Santa Margarita, 2-0, on Thursday, Dugard asked
Eagle Coach Tammy Delp about scheduling another nonleague game next season and
if she wanted to play it in Rancho Santa Margarita.
"We want to play it right here," Delp responded.
The stadium, which doesn't officially open until June, got its first official
use on Wednesday, when Woodbridge beat Laguna Hills, 7-4, in nine innings.
"It would be nice to walk away with a win," Dugard said beforehand, "but I
would rather open with a big game like this rather than someone we might not
have any trouble with."
The stadium's fence is 210 feet from home plate for high school softball, with
a permanent fence at 270. Drainage is so good, Dugard said, "we could have a
pretty good storm and still play the next day, or later that day."
"This gives us a whole different look," Laguna Hills Coach Cary Crouch said.
"This makes you feel special to play a Sea View League game."
Laguna Hills will play on a new field next season, at a park being built
adjacent to the high school.
For the record, the first pitch was thrown by freshman Brittany Crouch, and it
was fouled off by Leslie Simien. Senior Breana Bohls got the first hit, pulling
a line drive to right field. Woodbridge senior Jennifer Hoops scored the first
run on senior Breanne Cooley's RBI single.
The stadium is a promise kept by Dugard, who is chairman of Irvine's Community
Services Commission, which does all park approval. Deanna Manning, a former
professional softball player and the director of community services, and the
Irvine City Council were driving forces behind the project.
"I promised the seniors four years ago they would one day play in the stadium,"
Dugard said. "This is something city leaders, in conjunction with softball
people in town, have worked on for 10 years."
Among the facility's most impressive features are the huge, pristine dugouts,
which made a sizable first impression on the Warriors, Dugard said. "The kids
wanted to know where the Muzak was."
AROUND THE BASES
Kim Sanders' RBI single in the bottom of the 13th inning that beat
fourth-ranked Kennedy was the second consecutive game-winning hit for El
Dorado's sophomore catcher. She also beat Cypress with a game-winning triple in
the bottom of the seventh.
Kennedy third baseman Jennifer McCard missed both upset losses last week
because of an ankle she sprained stepping on a pine cone. "I was coming down
some stairs at a park," she said. "I just stepped on it and rolled my ankle.
I've never had to sit out before. It was horrible."
Winning pitcher Krista Davidson scored on an RBI single by Amber Clark on
Wednesday, giving Laguna Beach a 1-0 victory over Santa Ana. It gave the
Artists their sixth victory, already an improvement on their 5-17 record last
season. Laguna Beach, now 7-7, had nine victories the previous four years
Fountain Valley's Kristin Crowder had a pretty good day for an eighth-place
hitter. Her second-inning home run against Cerritos' Jessica van der Linden
provided a 1-0 victory in a semifinal of the Baron Classic. In the
championship, Crowder, a junior catcher, added a second-inning RBI single in a
1-0 victory over Foothill, which was ranked No. 2 in one national poll.
In the Fountain Valley-Cerritos semifinal, each pitcher faced only one batter
over the minimum. Van der Linden struck out 14 and allowed only one baserunner,
Crowder, on the homer; Natalie King pitched a two-hitter and struck out 10.
King's 16 strikeouts in the championship were the most against a Foothill team
With only four teams in the Serra League, there is little room for error, and
the big bats at Rosary will get their first look at Tia Bollinger and
top-ranked Mater Dei today at Mile Square Park. Also today, Los Alamitos, led
by hitters Phelan Wright and Kristin Farber, hosts second-ranked Fountain
Valley in the Sunset League.
On Wednesday, the Sea View League features a matchup of former Pacific Coast
League rivals, seventh-ranked Laguna Hills at Aliso Niguel. On Friday, Aliso
Niguel plays at Woodbridge, and Irvine is at Laguna Hills.
The powers in the Olympic League meet Thursday, when ninth-ranked Orange
Lutheran plays at Calvary Chapel.
The Michelle Carew Classic, which begins Friday at Peralta Park, continues
through April 19. The tournament features Foothill, Rosary and Diamond Bar on
the same side of one bracket, along with two teams that figure to provide the
best first-round matchup--Orange Lutheran vs. Chino Hills Ayala at 5 p.m. on
* * * *
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