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Predawn workouts pay off for Crusaders

05/31/2014, 5:59pm PDT
By Terry Monahan, Special to the U-T

Mater Dei Catholic defeats Valhalla for fifth straight San Diego Section title

Mater Dei Catholic's Eva Gonzales (shown in a game earlier this season) stroked an RBI single in the Crusaders' win over Valhalla on Saturday.

The road to a softball championship, at least at Mater Dei Catholic, begins every day at 5 a.m. with a workout.

For the fifth consecutive year the final result has been a San Diego Section title.

After winning four straight Division IV crowns, No. 3-seeded Mater Dei Catholic claimed the Division II title on Saturday at UC San Diego with a 3-0 victory over No. 10 Valhalla behind the four-hit pitching of sophomore Kellie White.

“This is all so mind-boggling,” said White, who walked three, struck out nine and allowed just one Norseman runner to reach second base in the game. “We prepare for this every morning. It’s dark and cold out at that hour. It’s not a nice place to be.

“It is all so worth it, all the blood, sweat and tears.”

Mater Dei (18-11), whose motto all season was winning “one for the thumb,” got all the runs White would need with a two-run first inning.

The first run scored on the game’s only error, and catcher Eva Gonzales’ run-scoring single made it 2-0.

The Crusaders added an insurance run in the fourth on White’s sacrifice fly.

White was so in charge that she allowed just one fly ball out.

“Winning this division was harder,” Crusaders coach Mike Centrullo said. “When we were in Division IV, other teams had tough hitters through the first three or four spots in the order. It was relief after that.

“In Division II, everyone in a lineup can hit. Everyone can play.”

Including Mater Dei Catholic.

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