Softball: OV starts out right

Ocean View High and Huntington Beach got a jump start on Marina and Edison in the CIF Southern Section softball playoffs by playing division wild-card games Tuesday.

The Seahawks extended their season, but the Oilers saw theirs come to an end.

Fifth-ranked Ocean View advanced in the Division 4 tournament by rolling past visiting Beverly Hills, 15-0. The Seahawks, the third-place team from the Golden West League, received a two-hit, eight-strikeout performance from senior Brittany Hitchcock who garnered her 18th win of the season.

Ocean View (20-5) churned out 16 hits for its 15 runs against the Normans (11-12, Ocean League at-large). Junior Tobi Salzman led the way with four hits and four RBIs along with sophomores Billi Derleth and Anika Ortiz with three hits each.

"Our defense was outstanding and Brittany [Hitchcock)] was overpowering in the circle," Ocean View Coach Mike McLaughlan said. "Our girls know that during the playoffs it could be one and done so they came out charged up, ready to play."

Ocean View advances to face Garden Grove League champ Rancho Alamitos in a first-round game at 3:15 p.m. Thursday at Rancho Alamitos.

Huntington was involved in a dramatic ending to a well-played Division game 1 game Tuesday at La Palma Kennedy. The host Fighting Irish used a walk-off home run by Courtney Thomas in the bottom of the eighth inning to emerge with a 5-4 victory.

The Oilers (15-14, Sunset League No. 3) jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning keyed by a two-run single by senior Emily Stoner. Kennedy tied the score in the third and took the lead, 4-3, in the fifth. The Oilers fought back to tie the score at 4-4 behind a double by freshman Anna Kufta and squeeze bunt by senior Jillian Martinez.

Sophomore Maria Steadman had two hits and junior Micaela Vierra went the distance giving up eight hits with four strikeouts.

"Ever since the 14-inning marathon game versus Marina, our team really began to believe in the system and their play," Huntington Coach Jeff Forsberg said. "It clearly showed as we were one hit, or one out, away per game, in sweeping the second round of league.

"The team really jelled around the pitching of Micaela [Vierra] and the offense from Sammie [Vandiver]. We had that leadership from seniors to go along with the up-and-coming talent from all the underclassmen. And It really stated in [the] Arroyo Grande [tournament], and then worked the rest of the year."


In Division 1 first-round games Thursday:

Roosevelt (18-11) Marina (24-3)

(3:15 p.m., Marina High)

The Sunset League champions begin their postseason journey at home against a Corona Roosevelt team that had to win a wild-card game on Tuesday to advance.

The Mustangs moved on by shutting out Rancho Verde, 2-0.

Marina is seeded behind top-seeded Esperanza and No. 2 Mater Dei.

"I feel good about the draw," Marina Coach Shelly Luth said. "We keep telling the kids you have to play every day to the fullest. In the playoffs, your record doesn't matter and it truly can be anyone's game. The game doesn't know the opponent."

The Vikings' opponent, Roosevelt, finished third in the competitive Big VIII League. Senior Brittany Martinez is a key figure on offense for the Mustangs.

Roosevelt will contend against a Marina team that Luth said has been the "most explosive team I've ever coached."

Junior Tera Blanco is not only the team's ace pitcher, but the team batting leader (.425 average), as well. On the mound, Blanco sports a 24-3 record with 14 shutouts. In 176 innings pitched, she has struck out 214 and has an earned-run average of 0.64.

Other top Vikings offensively are sophomore first baseman Emili Olague (.416 avg.), senior third baseman Samantha Agamaite (.302) and sophomore shortstop Sydney McCollum (.358).

Marina won the Sunset League title for the first time since 2010.

"I'm very happy for the team," Luth said. "It's been a true team effort. Great pitching, good defense and offense."

Marina is seeking its first Southern Section softball title since the school won back-to-back crowns in 1994-95.


Edison (20-10) vs. Valley View (13-14)

(3:15 p.m., at Valley View High)

Edison's playoff hopes start in Moreno Valley against a Valley View team that finished second in the Inland Valley League.

"We are really excited to begin the final leg of our season," said first-year Edison Coach Kim Ensey whose Chargers finished second in the Sunset League. "There are some really great games lined up for this week. I expect nothing less from our matchup."

Edison's offense features several players who have starred at the plate. Among the leaders are seniors Carissa Sherman (.447 avg.) and Karley Wester (.416), sophomore Reis Birkett who has driven in 37 runs, junior Liz Talataina with seven home runs, and sophomore Ali Wester whose base running skills have led to 20 stolen bases.

"I am fully confident in how we are playing right now," Ensey said. "My girls are fighters and no matter the situation, they are going to fight till the end."

Valley View has a team batting average of .300. Six Eagles have 23 or more hits for the season led by senior Dani Melendez and Carissa Terry with 26 and 25, respectively.

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