Edison defeats Orange Lutheran, reaches semifinal

To say that the Edison High softball team has cruised through the first three rounds of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs would be an understatement.

Actually, the Chargers have steam rolled their way through to the division semifinals. Edison claimed its latest victim Thursday, as the Chargers scored  a crushing road victory by handling Trinity League champion Orange Lutheran, 6-0, in a quarterfinal round game.

The win sends the Chargers (26-4) on to the semifinal round  Tuesday, where they will host 10th-ranked and defending division champion Santiago of Corona (Big VIII League No. 2) at 3:15 p.m. The winner moves on to the Division 1 championship game June 1 at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine. Top-ranked Norco (Big VIII League champion) takes on unranked Vista Murrieta (Southwestern League champ) in Tuesday's other semifinal game.

"The girls are playing really well right now," Edison Coach Josh Musselman said.

Edison struck for two runs in the top of the first inning, put two more up on the scoreboard in the fourth  and then capped the scoring by getting two runs in the sixth. The Chargers had 10 hits off Lancers ace Jade Vecvanags (19-2) and reliever Madison Osias.

Senior captain Casey Africano went two for four with a home run and double and drove in two runs. Senior Jessica Plaza homered, walked twice and had two RBIs, junior Karley Wester went three for four and scored twice, and freshman lead-off hitter Ali Wester and seniors Maddy Hickman and Megan Feuerstein each had a hit.

The six runs were the most given up this year by the Lancers, who also were shut out for the first time this season. Sammy Cordova took that honor. The Edison junior gave up six hits, walked three and struck out five in a complete game victory.

Edison's impressive win at Orange Lutheran (27-5), which had defeated the Chargers, 4-2, in a regular-season tournament game in March, marked the third time in three playoff games the Chargers have won by shutout.

'We're a much different team than when we first played them (Orange Lutheran)," Musselman said. "We only had played four games when we first met them and now, we had played 29. That's a big difference. Plus, we had had two players (Karley and Ali Wester) who were just starting to get into form after coming off other sports, and both are impact players at the top of our lineup."

Tuesday's semifinal opponent, Santiago of Corona, also was impressive in its quarterfinal round win. The Sharks advanced by taking down second-ranked Pacifica of Garden Grove, 4-3.

"It's a heck of a challenge," Musselman said of Tuesday's showdown. "They are the defending champs and they like to come into another team's house and take away your 'mojo.' But they are coming into a juggernaut. Our girls are fresh right now. I think a lot of teams are breaking down and getting tired right now. Not us. We practice only three times a week and our practices have been sharp. I think we are playing as well as we have been than at any other point in the season."

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