IRVINE --Sometimes, looks can be deceiving. South Hills' coach told the media this week that Oaks Christian looked as if it could be beat.
It turned out that Oaks Christian looked the way it did in 2004.
Kiana Quolas struck out 13 and Kelly Spear and Ava Jensen hit three-run homers as top-seeded Oaks Christian scored a 10-1 victory Friday at Barber Park. The victory gave Oaks the Southern Section Division 3 championship.
It's the third title for the Lions (30-5), who were playing in the finals for the first time since 2005, when they completed a five-year run of winning two championships and finishing runner-up three times.
It was a bitter disappointment for South Hills (21-8), which lost last year's Division 5 final to Whittier Christian but was very confident this year. "We're coming with a vengeance," said losing pitcher Sydney La Follette (17-7).
"You want a quote? We're going to win," said coach Scott Fisch.
But it was Oaks Christian, and pitcher Quolas, who had the last word.
"We read in the paper that they were confident," said Quolas, a right-hander headed to Coastal Carolina. "We were confused. Why would you call a victory when we haven't even played? OK, now we're going to go after you even more because you're so cocky."
Quolas (18-3) cruised against a South Hills lineup that had scored 36 runs in four playoff games, including an astonishing 16 against second-seeded La Puente Bishop Amat in the semifinals. She surrendered only four hits and didn't walk a batter.
The bottom of the order ignited the offense in the bottom of the third inning for Oaks Christian. The eighth-place hitter Jensen singled, and after a sacrifice and an error, pinch-runner Hailey Moore scored on Quolas' squeeze bunt to second base. Hanah Roberg singled over the second baseman's head for another run, and after a walk came Spear's three-run blast.
Spear, who finished with three hits and four runs batted in, had the game-winning hit in the semifinals in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 2-1 victory over Chino Hills.
South Hills answered in the top of the fourth inning as Britney Rodriguez hit her eighth home run to lead off the inning, but it wasn't nearly enough to add a championship to titles won in 1982 and 1997. Quolas struck out the next six batters.
Oaks Christian added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning when Jensen hit a three-run homer. That was the last batter that La Follette faced.