SAMOHI — Playoff matchups usually feature teams that are seeing each other for the first time that season.
Apparently the seeding committee of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section didn’t have that in the cards for Santa Monica High School’s softball team (22-6 overall, 10-0 in Ocean League play) which has drawn a familiar foe in the first round of the Division IV playoffs.
For the third time this season, Samohi, winner of the Ocean League, will face South Torrance with the two teams having split a doubleheader in March. South finished fourth in the Pioneer League and advanced to the first round by defeating Lompoc in a wild card game.
“We’re familiar with them,” Samohi Head Coach Debbie Skaggs said. “But, every one is at a different point now.
“They are a different team, we are a different team.”
She said that familiarity can go both ways.
In one sense, both teams can effectively game plan against each other. On the other, certain players have matured during the year making preparing for them that much more difficult.
Working in Samohi’s favor is the fact that star pitcher Celisha Walker will be on the mound this time around. She was injured during the previous meetings, but has rebounded in time for the playoffs.
Possibly making matters worse for South, Skaggs said that Walker is proving to be a double threat, with her bat heating up at the right time of the season.
“I told the girls to be prepared for a good hurler on the mound,” South Torrance Head Coach Dana Kuwahara said. “Hopefully our bats come around and can handle (Walker).”
That sentiment is shared by Samohi’s Skaggs, whose team will have to face South’s top starting pitcher Jessica Cherness, who defeated the Vikings earlier this season.
Skaggs credited Cherness with shutting down her offense during the first meeting and expects more of the same today during the 3:15 p.m. game at Samohi.
If Samohi is to win, its bats will have to generate more spark against Cherness, Skaggs said. She added that catcher Emma Woo has really started to swing the bat and expects her to play a key role on offense.
“The kids are hitting the ball better, playing better defense and communicating better,” Skaggs said. “Those are all positive things that could lead to success in the playoffs.”
Samohi volleyball exits playoffs<p>
The Vikings’ boys volleyball team lost in the second round of the CIF-SS Division III playoffs to Oaks Christian in five sets, 25-23, 14-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-11.
Crossroads to host playoff game<p>
Crossroads’ baseball team will host Academy of Academic Excellence today at Clover Park at 3 p.m. in the first round of the CIF-SS Division VI playoffs.
The Roadrunners finished the season 14-5 overall and 5-3 in the Delphic League.