Pacifica (21-5-1) vs. Marina (24-2), Golden West College
Two of the county’s hottest pitchers square off as Pacifica freshman Toni Mascarenas (15-3, 0.09 earned-run average) meets junior Marcy Crouch (20-2, 0.26). The Mariners spent the season doing just enough to get by, but have scored more runs (16) in their three shutout victories than any team left in the playoffs; they’ve won 11 in a row. Marina, led by the hitting of first baseman Lynette Velazquez, has a 14-game winning streak and easily represents the best-hitting team Pacifica has faced in the playoffs. The key for Marina is to avoid defensive mistakes; if the Vikings can’t, it could be trouble.
Lompoc (22-5) vs. Foothill (24-6), Canyon HS
Neither team was supposed to be here, but Lompoc upset defending champion and third-seeded Simi Valley (and pitcher Sara Griffin) in the second round, and followed with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory at Fountain Valley. Foothill upset No. 2 Los Alamitos, 7-4, with an unexpected power display; coupled with earlier victories over Huntington Beach and Kennedy, the Knights have had the most impressive run among the semifinalists. Lompoc has pitcher Kim Wuest (19-1) and an offense led by Chastity Johnson (.488), but Foothill can counter with Michelle Churnock (.548).
Saugus (27-2-1) vs. Fullerton (17-13), Fullerton College
Fullerton has excelled in these playoffs because it has played solid defense and focused on the game at hand; Saugus would be wise to not look past the Indians. Although the teams don’t match up on paper--Saugus has Jamie Gillies (22-2, 0.49), Kim O’Leary (.470), Chris Gill (.427)--Fullerton didn’t match up against two of its three previous playoff victims, including fourth-seeded Lakewood. No one expects the Indians to win this game, but no one expected them to get this far, either-- and they’ve got the home-town advantage.