High Schools:

Area pair display promise


Two promising young high school softball teams in the area got involved in a triple play Friday.

Newport Harbor ran into it. Costa Mesa turned it and came away with a 4-1 nonleague road victory.

Both programs have a lot to look forward to in the future. Costa Mesa has its ace back in Kira Mitani and Newport Harbor has an ace in Alex Bauer.

Mitani returned for her junior year after quitting early last season. She’s in rare form.

Bauer, a sophomore, is as well. She’s already drawing comparisons to a U.S. Olympic pitcher, looks- and pitching-wise.

Assistant coach Tony Qualin said Bauer is the next Jenny Finch, a gold and silver medalist in softball. Bauer’s father, Tim, just laughs.


Bauer is just focusing on the season. In her first year as a starting pitcher at Newport Harbor, she has a young team around her.

Bauer has more experience than most teammates, having played on a competitive club travel team.

Young teams are prone to mistakes.

Practice is something second-year coach Melissa Branch said her Sailors have missed out on early in the season. On Saturday, Newport Harbor played its eighth game in eight days.

Now, you might understand why Costa Mesa second baseman Sami Feinstein was able to turn a rare triple play, killing a Newport Harbor rally in the sixth inning.

With runners on second and first base, Feinstein caught a pop-up almost in center field for the first out, ran and stepped on second base for the second out, before throwing to first for the third out.

“I’m proud of [Costa Mesa] because a triple play; you don’t see that often,” said Branch, who is beginning to lose her voice. “It would’ve been better if we did it. We just have two games [this] week. We’re going to just really focus on the mental errors that we had here. A lot of it was base-running errors. We’re going to work them hard on base running.

“This is why my voice is the way it is, because they’re not listening to us. They need to see it. It’ll happen. They’re showing me a lot of promise right now.”

Second-year coach Marcus Franco feels the same away about his young Mustangs.

Getting Mitani back is a bonus.

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