West Ranch softball holds off Canyon 

Canyon High School Senior Mia Reese (11) slides to steal second base during a double play while West Ranch High School Senior Trinity Diaz outs her during Monday’s game at Canyon High School. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
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Solid defense, pitching and hitting powered West Ranch Wildcats softball in its win over the hosting Canyon Cowboys.  

The Wildcats won all but one inning in the 6-3 victory as freshman ace Naomi Stoll tore through the Cowboys’ order. 

Stoll allowed just two hits into the outfield in her first three trips through the Canyon lineup. The freshman didn’t allow a hit in her third battle with every Cowboy batter and retired seven straight before the seventh inning. 

West Ranch High School Freshman Naomi Stall (21) pitches the ball and strikes out multiple Canyon High School batters at the game on Monday at Canyon High School. Katherine Quezada/The Signal

“(Stoll’s) got the will to win. It runs in her family,” said Wildcats coach Phil Giarrizzo. “It makes a big difference. She’s poised out there, nothing bothers her and she fights till the end.” 

The Wildcat pitcher’s streak was broken up by senior Mia Reese who smacked her second single of the day. Canyon sophomore Karina Moreno shook up the game with a two-run homer but the Cowboys couldn’t find any more seventh-inning magic as Stoll retired her final batter following the bomb. 

Canyon High School Girls cheer on their teammate Karina Montero (10) for hitting a home run during the last inning during Monday’s game at Canyon High School versus West Ranch. Katherine Quezada/The Signal

West Ranch (5-6, 3-1) saw its own two-run dinger in the top of the first inning when catcher Isabella Swanson launched one off the yard. 

The Wildcats then slowly crept in runs with single scores in the third through sixth innings. 

Canyon (5-6-1, 1-2) got its first run in the third when shortstop Gabby Wensley just beat the tag at the plate off an RBI double from junior Jessica Carr. 

Canyon had an uncharacteristic day on defense with a handful of errors that helped West Ranch extend its lead.  

Both teams feature younger rosters with four underclassmen in the starting lineup. Canyon coach Todd Wensley has liked his team’s projection up top and expects his younger players to catch up to the seniors quickly. 

“Our seniors have been doing well, our top two hitters, Gabby and Mia, have done well overall,” coach Wensley said. “We just need some of the girls that are first-year varsity girls to step up just like everybody else in league. Everybody’s got some young players.” 

The Wildcats haven’t always gotten the better of the Cowboys ace Carr, but Giarrizzo liked what he saw in his total team win on Monday. 

“They played together and that’s important. It wasn’t one person doing it all, we spread it out,” Giarrizzo said. “We had quite a few hits, which is unusual against Jessica. I have a lot of respect for her. Today we were able to figure her out and we came out on top.” 

Canyon High School Junior Jessica Car (16) pitches the ball to a West Ranch batter and strikes her out on Monday at Canyon High School. Katherine Quezada/The Signal

The Cowboy defense showed up in the top of the seventh inning when senior base runner Aliyah Delgado was tagged in a big collision at the plate with Canyon catcher Jaylynn Sussi. The catcher was down hurt for a few minutes but closed out the game behind the plate. 

Senior Rachel Brown led the Wildcats with two runs scored while Krista Viereck and Savannah Gatewood both added doubles. Trinity Diaz led West Ranch with three hits at the plate. 

West Ranch is off to a terrific start to league play with three big wins including the program’s first victory over Saugus in five years. The Cats again gave up a chunk of runs in the seventh but held on to win 9-7 over the Centurions. Viereck went 3-for-3 and was a home run shy of the cycle, while Gatewood added a homer as one of her two hits. 

Canyon was two-hit on Tuesday at Valencia and will look to bounce back on Thursday when the team heads to Castaic. West Ranch also hits the road on Thursday with a league battle at Hart. Both games are slated for 3:15 p.m. 

“We gotta just keep fighting,” coach Wensley said. “One loss does not make the season. It would have been nice to win today, but we have to forget about it, move on, and take each game as it comes.” 

Canyon High School Junior Isabella Heasley (35) outs West Ranch High School Senior Rachel Brown (11) during the game at Canyon High School on Monday. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
West Ranch High School Senior Aliyah Delgado (48) aims at stealing second base while Canyon High School Sophomores Jazzmen Sussi (5) and Emily Torres (8) try to stop her during Monday’s game. Katherine Quezada/The Signal

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