COSTA MESA — After winning its first two games at the La Quinta Tournament, Coach Tony Qualin said his Newport Harbor High softball team had already clinched a first-place finish in its pool.
That didn't mean Qualin wanted the Sailors to play like the game was virtually meaningless.
They were nearly upset in their final pool-play game Tuesday but did just enough to win against a Newport-Mesa district foe. Sophomore Breanna Lopez scored on a wild pitch in the top of the seventh inning and the Sailors escaped against Costa Mesa, 4-3, at Costa Mesa High.
The Sailors (10-1) will play at the host Aztecs in the tournament championship game Friday. They'll likely have to play better if they want to take home the championship hardware.
"We didn't get the big hits when we needed them today," Qualin said. "We just had a lot of things go wrong. We steal a base and the runner slides by the base. A lot of things didn't work out for us today. I don't squeeze with a left-handed batter. We had two chances when I had a runner on third where I'd definitely squeeze if I'd have had a right-handed batter. It just didn't work out that way."