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John Harte / Special to The Californian

Starting pitcher Josh Stone works the early innings for the Mustangs at Independence. Stone also hit one of the Mustangs' three first inning homers and made a diving catch with the bases loaded later in the game, when he moved to center field.

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John Harte / Special to The Californian Everything seemed to be working early for the Stockdale Mustangs at Independence High Thursday afternoon. Here, an attempted sacrifice bunt by Independence is turned into a double play as shortstop Max Carter get the force out on Dillon O'Donohue before throwing to first.

Stockdale has had its fair share of baseball and softball success over the years, but for surprise factor alone, it'll be hard to top this spring.

The Mustangs clinched outright Southwest Yosemite League title in both baseball and softball Thursday with victories over Independence.

The baseball team, which features just three seniors, beat the Falcons 15-2. After Josh Stone led off the top of the first inning with a solo home run, Max Carter singled and Erik Williams and Zach Tanner followed with back-to-back home runs to make it 4-0.

Stockdale (20-7, 12-3 SWYL) added eight sixth-inning runs to turn the finale into a high-scoring affair, but that wasn't the norm for the Mustangs. Seven of their 12 SWYL victories came by one or two runs, including four in a row after they dropped two games to Liberty last month.

"We won every close game we were in," Mustangs assistant coach Greg Showers said. "The kids battled and we won in all the must-win situations. It was a whole team effort, with different guys leading the team in different games."

The Liberty losses dropped Stockdale into a tie with Centennial for first place, one that wasn't broken until Frontier (9-6) swept Centennial (10-5) this week.

"We're young, and this is a tougher league than we've had in the past," Showers said. "But it's always the expectation to win the league at Stockdale. We fulfilled our goal."

The softball team thought the loss of three-time Californian Player of the Year Justine Vela might be too much to overcome, but it beat Independence 10-1 to win a fourth straight SWYL championship.

"I was just kind of hoping to finish middle of the pack, losing as much as we did," Stockdale coach Amanda Hockett said. "But the girls stepped up to the challenge and didn't want to miss a beat from where we were in the past."

Ashlee Rex filled in for Vela in the pitcher's circle and finished 17-6 with a 0.45 ERA. Stockdale (21-8, 13-2 SWYL) held off Centennial (12-3) in the league race.

In the South Yosemite League baseball race, Ridgeview and Mira Monte enter today's action tied atop the league at 5-2. West has finished its league season at 5-3. Garces (7-0) has clinched the Southeast Yosemite League over North (5-2) with one game to play.

In softball, Ridgeview (29-3-1 overall, 8-0 SYL) was the runaway winner in the SYL, winning seven of its eight games by at least 10 runs -- and the other was 7-0. Garces (6-1) holds a one-game lead on North (5-2) heading into today's league finales in the SEYL.

Section playoff seeding for baseball and softball will be determined Saturday in Porterville.

All-Star Challenge to return

Bakersfield's best high school baseball seniors will again test themselves against the best of the Santa Clarita Valley in the second All-Star Challenge at Bakersfield College.

This year's game is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. on June 6. Rosters and coaches will be announced at the end of the Central Section playoffs, which begin Tuesday and run through May 24.

Last year, the Bakersfield All-Stars beat Santa Clarita 4-3 in 10 innings, with Centennial's Grant Watson -- who now pitches for UCLA -- the game's MVP.

Tickets will be $5 for adults and $3 for students. Children age 13 and younger are free.

Mazza ready to decide

Liberty rising senior Cole Mazza, one of the most highly regarded high school long snappers in the country, appears ready to make a verbal commitment to a college.

Mazza, who holds offers from Utah, UCLA and Washington State, will make a decision today while he's in Las Vegas for a national kicking and snapping event, his mother, Melody, said in an email.

Mazza, ranked the No. 1 long snapper in the country in his class by Chris Rubio, also might visit Boise State, Utah or Alabama over the summer after he makes his verbal.

Local standouts highlight QB camp

Fresno State's Derek Carr (from Bakersfield Christian) and USC's Cody Kessler (Centennial) will be among the instructors at the second Terrio Edge Quarterback/Wide Receiver Camp, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on May 19.

Also coaching will be Rodger Carr, father to Derek and New York Giants quarterback David Carr; Steve Calhoun, a quarterbacks coach who has instructed NFL starters Cam Newton and Jake Locker, among others; and Eric Mahanke, a wide receiver for Fresno State and the Bakersfield Blitz.

For mor information, contact The Edge at (661) 410-3343.