Marina Knocks Off No. 2 Aliso Niguel

Mistakes were the downfall for Aliso Niguel as No. 10 Marina beat the county's second-ranked team, 4-3, Wednesday in a Saddleback Valley tournament semifinal at Alicia Park.

Marina (5-1) advanced to play Dana Hills in the championship game at 6:15 p.m. today.

Trailing, 2-0, in the fifth inning, Marina rallied for four runs, the last two coming off throwing errors.

"It's uncharacteristic of our team," Aliso Niguel Coach Joe Miller said of the Wolverines' three errors in the inning. "We usually play with pretty good confidence and a lot of control."

After Nelsy Zaraguza singled up the middle to start the inning, Kera Mathes hit a ground ball toward Aliso Niguel pitcher Amanda Samonte, who scooped it up and threw wide to first base, allowing Zaraguza to advance to third base and Mathes to take second.

Samonte then walked Ramona Garcia to load the bases with one out, and Carrie Hagen singled to drive in Zaraguza.

Marina's Amanda Marchegiamo, pinch running for Mathes, scored from second on an errant throw from center, tying the score, 2-2.

The errors continued for Aliso Niguel (2-3) when the subsequent throw to third base was off-target, sending the ball down the left-field line and allowing Garcia and Hagen to score, making it 4-2.

"We just tried to piece it together one hit at a time," Marina Coach Shelly Luth said. "We struggled the first four innings, getting just sporadic hits, but once we get our momentum going, we're better than that."

The Wolverines looked as if they would answer with a rally in the sixth inning when Chezare Sievers led off with a home run into left field to cut the deficit to one run.

But following a Jessica Vernaglia single, Garcia got Aliso Niguel's next three batters to pop out and end the game.

"I was going to go hit-and-run, I was going to do a lot of things there," Miller said. "But we popped the ball up and it killed us."

Vernaglia, who had two hits and two RBIs, gave the Wolverines a 2-0 advantage in the first inning when her triple to left field drove in Erin Wallace and Sievers.

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