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Capistrano Valley softball off to fast start under new coach Melissa Roth

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Melissa Roth is back coaching high school softball in Orange County, this time with a fresh perspective on the game she knows well.

Capistrano Valley is certainly benefiting from the view.

The Cougars improved to 14-3 under Roth by knocking off eighth-ranked Mission Viejo 6-2 in a nonleague game Monday.

Shortstop Siena Stickney, pitcher Madi McDonnell and center fielder Kate Verhoef belted three consecutive home runs in the fifth inning to seal the victory for Capistrano Valley, ranked third in CIF-SS Division 3 and 15th in Orange County.

Roth is coaching high school softball for the first time since departing Edison after the 2019 season. The former Louisville All-American catcher also stopped coaching the Firecrackers travel team that year and started to umpire.

The job switch led to a new outlook for Roth.

“I was always nice (to umpires) but I understand the game a little bit differently from (being on) that side of it,” she said. “Where (umpires) should be (positioned) on certain plays. What we can and can not question.”

The Capistrano Valley players are thankful for Roth’s grasp of other parts of the game, too.

The Cougars believe their chemistry, improved depth and competitive schedule have contributed to the success. The team finished second in the Santa Fe tournament and entered Tuesday with a 2-0 record in the Sea View League.

“She’s brought us to a new level, a higher level,” Verhoef said of Roth, a walk-on coach who also offers private lessons. “We’re a lot more competitive. I think we’ve gotten closer as a team.”

Pitching has been one area that has experienced improved depth. The Cougars have developed junior Zoe Parsell, who started against Mission Viejo, to help support McDonnell. The team also played two catchers, Micayla Turi and Amaya Bixler, in Monday’s game.

“They’ve really shown how they can compete with teams that are in higher divisions than us,” Roth said of her squad. “The team has really bought in, and that comes from our senior class.”

NOTES

Mission Viejo coach Clint Watson was restricted to the dugout and not ejected Monday by the home plate umpire during the loss to Capistrano Valley. He was expected to coach against Tesoro on Tuesday. …

Aliso Niguel and Rosary won the Gold and Silver divisions, respectively, of the recent Dugard Classic tournament that is hosted by Woodbridge. …

Los Alamitos placed Isabella Rodriguez, Gabby Terrones and Julie Holcomb on the all-tournament team at the Michelle Carew Classic after the Griffins claimed the prestigious tournament for the first time. …

Marina forfeited the third-place game against Huntington Beach at the Carew Classic because it was against an upcoming Sunset League opponent, Vikings co-coach Dan Hay said. …

Marina freshman pitcher Mia Valbuena has 132 strikeouts in 118 innings.

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