Vikings rally to keep season alive

HB Independent

"One, we are the Mustangs. Two, we still can't hear you. Three, a little bit louder...we are number one."

The cheer, shouted loud, proud and in unison from the Trabuco Hills dugout, turned out to be premature.

At the time, though, the Mustangs had the right to be feeling pretty confident, playing on the road and holding a 2-0 lead over Marina with two out — and the third out just a pitch away — in the bottom of the sixth inning of Tuesday's CIF Southern Section Division I softball second-round playoff game.

In the end, though, it was a completely different story as the entire Trabuco dugout stared out onto the field in silent disbelief.

Marina parlayed a lead-off single and a pair of quirky infield grounders in the bottom of the seventh into three runs with two out to pull out a 3-2 victory to keep its season alive.

The outcome even stunned Marina Coach Shelly Luth.

"You know what?," she asked before revealing the answer. "Last night (Monday), we had our team banquet and everyone was saying it was a bad omen to have the banquet before the season was over. But this has been such a unique year for us and we talked last night about giving it our all, down to the last out. And today, it went down to that."

Tuesday's improbable win sends Sunset League co-champion Marina (22-8) onto a quarterfinal round game at 2 p.m. today against Santa Margarita (Trinity League No. 2). The game time was changed to accommodate Santa Margarita's prom.

Marina hit well (the Vikings had five hits) against Trabuco ace Kayla Massey (22-3), but couldn't come up with "that clutch hit," Luth said. They Vikings, who had runners in scoring position for three straight innings but couldn't put a run across, finally found it in the seventh.

Lana Rutkin started the Marina half of the seventh with a single that hugged the third-base line and reached the outfield. Two outs later, Sandy Simmons drew a walk. Shannon Simmons followed and hit a high chopper toward the mound. Massey tried to make a play but the ball glanced off her glove. Shannon Simmons was safe at first and Rutkin scored to pull the Vikings within 2-1.

With Jamie Sullivan now at the plate, Massey threw wild and Sandy Simmons scored from third to tie the score. Sullivan then sent a 2-1 pitch toward first, where the ball deflected off the top of the glove of Trabuco first baseman Ashlyn Campbell and trickled to Campbell's right. Shannon Simmons was waved home from second by Luth and scored the winning run.

"I'm glad she (Shannon Simmons) was on base, because she's our fastest runner," Luth said.

In other CIF softball action: Golden West League champion Ocean View scored in the first inning of their Division 4 second-round game Tuesday at South Torrance and made it stand in a 1-0 victory over the Pioneer League runner-up Spartans.

Senior pitcher Holli Floetker (10-7) earned her second postseason victory for the Golden West League champion Seahawks, who host Channel League champ Buena today in a 3:15 p.m. quarterfinal game.

Edison, the No. 3 team out of the Sunset League, had its season end May 20 in a 1-0 loss at Valencia of Placentia (Empire League No. 2). The Chargers finished the year 21-8.

Baseball "Well, we pulled out another one," Ocean View Coach Shane Borowski said, referring to his Seahawks' 9-8 road win Tuesday at Bell Gardens (Almont League No. 2) in second-round Division 3 action. The win sends the Golden West League champs into a 3:15 p.m. quarterfinal game Friday at top-seed Beckman (Pacific Coast League No. 1).

Although Ocean View starter Blake Walker struggled against a solid Bell Gardens offense, the Seahawks were only down, 4-3, in the bottom of the third, but the Lancers were threatening again.

"Blake was not his normal self today," Borowski said. "I wanted to leave him in there as long as I could because he is a winner, and give him a chance to work out his difficulties, but in the playoffs you can't wait too long. He didn't have his normal good stuff, which happens sometimes, but he is a bulldog and we knew he would help us some other way, so we went with (Freddy) Sepulveda."

Sepulveda came in with runners at second and third and nobody out, but got out of the inning by retiring the next three hitters.

"Freddy really picked us up there," Borowski said. "The game was in danger of getting out of hand in their favor, but he battled and kept us in it. We really needed that momentum shift."

Sophomore Colton Johnson added to that momentum in the top of the fourth where he had what Borowski said was "one of his best at-bats of the year." Johnson stared at an 0-2 count and then fouled off several pitches to stay alive. On the 14th pitch, he doubled off the wall in right field.

It led to the tying run, as Johnson eventually scored on Delgado's second RBI (single) of the game.

Ocean View took the lead for good (5-4) in the top of the fifth when Timmy Robinson and Nick Schulenburg both singled and Sepulveda's deep ball to center field scored Robinson. The Seahawks then gained some breathing room in the top of the sixth with four runs to lead, 9-4.

Sunset League champion Edison, the No. 4-seed, couldn't take advantage of its opportunities and was upset at home by Dana Hills, 2-1, in eight innings in the Division 1 opener May 20. The Chargers lost despite outhitting the Dolphins, 9-3.

Edison (18-9) scored in the bottom of the seventh inning on Kyle Jones' two-out RBI single to force extra innings. Dana Hills (17-12) got the winning run in the top of the eighth on Trevor Scott's one-out, RBI double.

The Dolphins, the fourth-place team from the South Coast League, needed to secure an at-large berth just to make the playoffs. They went on to defeat Hueneme in a wild-card game May 18.

"Last year, we had a nice, magical run. This year, we got bit in the first round," said Edison Coach Steve Lambright, whose team reached the title game in 2009, beating Dana Hills, 3-2, en route to the final. "That's how this game goes. In our losses this year, we didn't come through in the clutch. We wasted opportunities again but Dana Hills deserves a lot of credit. They played a good game and made plays.

"I'm sad to see the season end for the boys, but the our success this season is based on what was stressed: to win a league championship. We did that and we will hang our hats on winning back-to-back league titles."

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