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SOUTHERN SECTION SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS : 5-A DIVISION : Marina Comes On Strong to Win, 9-0

TIMES STAFF WRITER

For the second year in a row, Marina High School eliminated Mater Dei from the Southern Section 5-A softball playoffs.

This time around, it was by a score of 9-0 in Tuesday’s semifinal game at Heritage Park in Irvine.

Top-seeded Marina (27-5), which plays Newbury Park for the championship Saturday at 8 p.m. at Mayfair Park in Lakewood, came out quickly, scoring two runs in the first inning, four in the second and one more in the third before slowing down.

“Marina comes out there and they’re just so aggressive, " Mater Dei Coach Cathy Quesnell said . “They came out with momentum. I mean they don’t usually come out with that much. We were caught back on our heels.

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“We practice that, too, being really aggressive and trying to stop the kind of offense they have, where they run and gun and hit anywhere and chop it on the ground, bunt, squeeze. . . . We practiced that over and over the last couple of weeks and I don’t know, it’s tough.”

Marina continually made solid contact at the plate--it had two home runs and a triple among its 10 hits--and was flawless in the field.

“They were just getting all of the bat on the ball,” Marina Coach Susie Calderon said of her players. “They were hitting in the gaps, and those were solid, solid hits, they weren’t just fly balls. They hit the ball hard on the infield . . .

“They wanted this so badly. It’s been a long time for Marina.”

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In 1984, the Vikings lost in the finals to Kennedy in 19 innings, and last won a section title under Coach Betsy Ward in 1975, Calderon said.

Fourth-seeded Mater Dei ran into trouble with a freshman on the mound. But Monarch pitcher Jennifer Clark wasn’t helped any by her teammates’ four errors, all of which came in the first three innings.

Last year, Mater Dei lost to Marina in the first round when Terri Kobata got freshman jitters in the first inning and allowed the winning run to score. This year, Kobata was sidelined in March with a shoulder injury, leaving Clark as the Monarchs’ No. 1 pitcher. She compiled a 15-2 record, but Marina applied too much pressure Tuesday.

Her coach said Clark lost confidence in all her pitches and just wanted to throw the fastball.

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“The fastball was just going over and they were cranking it,” Quesnell said. “She’s a freshman and it’s a ton of pressure.”

Clark finished with one strikeout, one hit batter and one walk.

First baseman Julie Muche had a two-run double and scored three times for Marina, and teammates Annie Presutti and Mindy Burgess each hit home runs.

Mater Dei (22-4) managed only two hits and two baserunners--neither of whom advanced past second--against senior Janet Miyahara (15-1), who had seven strikeouts.

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