Softball Roundup: Blanco, Vikings on fire

The start to the week didn't go as planned for the Marina softball team, but a change in venues didn't cost the Vikings on the playing field Tuesday.

When the Vikings arrived for practice Monday to begin preparing for upcoming games against Rosary and El Toro, what awaited them was a buzzing beehive, which had amassed in the upper-right corner of the Marina dugout. Not good, said Coach Shelly Luth.

"Tera [Blanco carries an EpiPen. There's no way we were going to practice anywhere near it," Luth said. "It was the size of a soccer ball. So, we left the field and went and practiced indoors."

With the bee situation solved, Marina was able to play host to Rosary, as planned, Tuesday. Blanco, Marina's ace pitcher, took her place in the circle and was in fine form. She also starred at the plate, and the Vikings were able to come away with a 2-0 victory against the Royals.

The junior tossed a two-hitter and struck out six with one walk in running her record to 10-1, the same mark the Vikings sport. She was able to take a pitchers duel from Rosary junior Annika Seedborg (7-3), who allowed four hits.

Marina, ranked No. 4 in CIF Southern Section Division 1, scored both of its runs in the third inning behind RBIs from Blanco and senior Bella Secaira. Blanco had two hits on the day.

Rosary slipped to 10-4 overall. Two weeks ago, Marina had defeated the Royals, 8-0, at the Foothill Tournament.

"We did just enough to get a win today," Luth said of Tuesday's win. "This was a lot different then the first time we faced them. We weren't as sharp. It's all about mental maturity and today, we made some young mistakes.

"Tera [Blanco] is amazing. She's a threat on the mound and so poised at the plate. Yes, she's very gifted, it doesn't come easy. She puts in the work every week, beyond practice, to be the best she can be."

Marina, which hasn't lost since falling to Capistrano Valley on March 12, travels Thursday for a 3:30 p.m. nonleague game at El Toro.

"We're playing really well right now, and I really think it's because we've really bonded as a team," Blanco said, her throwing arm wrapped in ice after she posted her 10th win. "This group is really close and we enjoy hanging out together, and I think it shows when we play."

In a nonleague game Tuesday between local teams, Ocean View rallied in the seventh inning to take a 4-2 road win at Fountain Valley. Senior Brittany Hitchcock pitched a complete game allowing seven hits with six strikeouts and one earned run for her 10th win of the season. Hitchcock drove in the two go-ahead runs for the Seahawks in the top of the seventh inning.

Olivia Russ and Tobi Salzman had three hits apiece and Jade Bustamonte had two hits for the Seahawks (11-2), who are ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division 4.

Fountain Valley had taken a 2-0 lead, but Ocean View rallied in its final at-bat. Alyssa Slater reached base on an error to start the top of the seventh, then consecutive hits by Erika Jason, Russ, Salzman and Hitchcock led to four runs.

Hitchcock then retired the side in the bottom of the seventh to complete the comeback.

Prior to taking on Fountain Valley, Ocean View wrapped up play in two tournaments. The Seahawks first won the championship of the Costa Mesa Tournament on March 21 by defeating Santa Ana Calvary Chapel, 2-1. The Seahawks managed only three hits but rode the pitching of Hitchcock and a strong defensive effort, which stopped a late rally attempt by the Eagles, to the win.

Emily Long lined a double in the second inning to bring in both Ocean View runs.

In the four-game tournament, the Seahawks pitching staff only allowed one unearned run, the offense racked up 19 runs, and the defense was solid throughout.

Hitchcock was named tournament MVP and Salzman was named to the all-tourney team.

On Saturday, Ocean View played two games at the Northwood/Timberwolf Classic. The Seahawks won their opener, 4-1, against Laguna Hills, to advance to the title game. Hitchcock threw a complete game and struck out nine to get her ninth win of the season. She allowed five hits and the Hawks' only run was unearned. Hitchcock, Salzman and Olivia Russ each had two hits in the game.

In the championship game, Ocean View lost to Esperanza, 6-0.

Hitchcock and Salzman again made the all-tourney team.

Ocean View completes its nonleague schedule on Thursday at home against Irvine at 3:15 p.m.


Edison: The Chargers captured the consolation championship of the TNT Faster 2 First Tournament in Torrance Saturday.

In the consolation final, Edison defeated Damonte Ranch of Nevada, 7-1. The Chargers started the tournament with a 10-6 win over Verrado of Arizona as freshman Kiana Pancino earned the pitching win in her first start of the season.

The Chargers' only loss was a 3-2 setback to Lakewood. They bounced back to defeat Foothill (Nev.), 7-4, and Franklin (Texas), 6-1.

Pancino started and was the winning pitcher in all four tourney wins by the Chargers (6-4).

In the five games, Carissa Sherman batted .416 with six RBIs and two doubles, Karley Wester batted .433 and scored seven runs, and Catrell Robertson hit a two-run home run in the win against Foothill.

Pancino and Wester made the all-tourney team.

"We finally broke out," Edison Coach Kim Ensey said. "After our loss to Lakewood, the team flipped a switch and our entire direction changed. I am really proud of these girls."

Edison next will play in the Woodbridge Tournament starting April 6. The Chargers open against Temescal Canyon at 8 a.m. at Deanna Manning Stadium (Bill Barber Park) in Irvine.


Huntington Beach:

The Oilers closed out play Saturday at the Northwood tournament with a pair of impressive victories in games that went four innings each.

The first game saw the Oilers turn a 14-hit attack into a 12-0 shutout of Irvine. Sammie Vandiver led the charge with three hits and Kristina Inouye, who hit her third home run of the season, Jill Martinez and Alyssa Horeczko all had two hits. Junior Micaela Vierra threw a four-hitter and posted her sixth win.

Vandiver is hitting a team-high .526 through 13 games and also leads the Oilers (8-5) in hits and runs scored.

The Oilers finished tourney play with a 13-1 decision over Western. Freshman Anna Kufta doubled and tripled and drove in four runs as the Oilers again produced 14 hits. Horeczko, also a freshman, won her second game after a five-hit, five-strikeout performance.

The Northwood tournament was held over two weekends and started on March 16.

"We struggled in the first weekend scoring runs, but we worked hard in practice all week in getting our pitch and doing something with it," Huntington Coach Jeff Forsberg said. "I guess after 28 hits and 25 runs on weekend two, the practice paid off.

"[I] can't say enough about the year Sammie Vandiver is having. She is a catalyst for getting on base and allowing our run producers to drive her home. Looking forward to our spring break tournament before we focus on league play."

Huntington starts play April 4 at the Arroyo Grande Tournament by the Beach. The Oilers open at 9 a.m. against a Nipomo team that was 10-0 through Wednesday.


CIF Weekly Rankings (week of March 25)

Division 1: Marina, No. 4

Division 4: Ocean View, No. 5

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

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