Blanco leads Vikings to wild-card win

Not even rainy conditions could deter the Marina and Fountain Valley softball and Fountain Valley and Ocean View baseball teams from getting postseason play underway Tuesday.

Three of the four teams won their CIF Southern Section wild-card games to advance in the playoffs.

Marina hosted Temecula Valley in a CIF Southern Section Division 1 softball game. The Vikings, who finished tied for second in the Sunset League but entered the playoffs as the league's No. 3 team after losing out on a coin flip May 12 to Edison, scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull away to a 6-1 win over the Golden Bears.

Freshman pitcher Tera Blanco gave up six hits and a walk and struck out five to run her season record to 16-6. Freshman Keala Cordeiro, who hadn't played too much during the regular season but has had "some great practices," Coach Shelly Luth said, stepped up to go two for three with a run batted in.

"We played real well and it was a good team effort from top to bottom," said Luth, who said she worked with a few fathers of her players during the day to get the field ready for play. "What was really exciting is that our six-seven-eight-and-nine hitters got it done. They really produced. We hit the ball hard."

In Marina's four-run sixth, junior Amanda Cordeiro singled and senior Nicolette Lujan put the ball in play with a bunt before Keala Cordeiro came up with an RBI single. Freshman Lily Dudrey, the No. 9 hitter, reached base by getting hit by a pitch. That brought the top of the order and junior Sandy Simmons produced and RBI single.

Luth also praised the play of Lujan and senior third baseman Chloe Kaneko.

"Nicolette (Lujan) made some really big plays at shortstop and Choloe had an RBI in the sixth and hit the ball hard. She also played solid defense. She killed it out there."

The win moves Marina (19-6-1) into a second-round matchup Thursday at Citrus Belt League champion Redlands. Luth said she knew "nothing" about the Terriers but that Blanco will "get the start."

In another Division 1 wild-card game Tuesday, Fountain Valley, an at-large entry from the Sunset League, had its season end in a 5-2 loss to Canyon of Anaheim (Century League No. 3).

Both Ocean View and Edison start their playoff runs Thursday and Friday.

Ocean View, runner-up in the Golden West League and 18-6 overall, hosts Hawthorne at 3:15 p.m. Thursday in a Division 4 first-round match-up. The Cougars are 18-7 and finished second in the Ocean League.

Seahawks Coach Mike McLaughlan said senior Brittany Hitchcock (9-3) will get the starting nod.

"I like our chances in the postseason," McLaughlan said. "Our hitting is coming around and our pitcher has been outstanding."

Edison, which tied Marina for second place in the Sunset League and is the league's No. 2 playoff representative, hosts Valencia of Valencia in a first-round game at 3:15 p.m. Friday. The Vikings are the No. 3 team from the Foothill League.



In CIF wild-card baseball action Tuesday, Fountain Valley (16-11) — an at-large entry from the Sunset League — scored two runs in both the top of the sixth and seventh innings to pull away to a 4-1 win at St. John Bosco (Trinity No. 3). Junior Zack Milan (5-2) replaced senior starter Taylor Martin in the fourth to get the win.

The Barons play a first-round game Friday at Marmonte League runner-up Simi Valley.

Defending Division 3 champion Ocean View (Golden West No. 3) hit the road to take on Diamond Bar (Hacienda No. 3) and came away with a 4-3 victory over the Brahmas (15-11-1). The Seahawks, which tied for second place in the Golden West League, rallied for two runs in both the top of the sixth and seventh innings to wipe out a 3-0 deficit and get the win. In the top of the seventh, sophomore Luke Fell singled to set up a two-run home run by junior Timmy Robinson.

Junior Colton Johnson, who replaced senior starter Freddy Sepulveda, threw the final two innings to notch the win to improve to 3-1.

Ocean View (17-10) moves on to play a first-round game Friday at San Andreas League champ Colton.

Marina (Sunset No. 3) was scheduled to host Canyon of Anaheim (Century No. 4) Tuesday, but the game was postponed due to rain and played Wednesday. The score wasn't available at press time.

Edison, 23-3 and the top-seed in the Division 1 playoffs, makes its postseason debut Friday at home against Santiago of Corona. The Sharks are the fourth-place team from the Big VIII League.

But don't be deceived by the Sharks: they beat No. 2-seed Mater Dei and No. 3-seed El Toro, and lost by a run to No. 4-seed JSerra.

"It's a tough draw right out of the block," Edison Coach Steve Lambright said. "They've beaten some pretty good teams. I've told our kids to just go out and play Edison baseball, the way they have all year. I have a veteran group that has been through the wars of the CIF playoffs. But the playoffs are a different animal and it's now a one-game season. But I think we're relaxed and ready to go."

Lambright said senior Henry Owens (11-0) will start Friday.

"He's ready to go and his arm looks fresh," Lambright said of his pitching sensation.

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