By DANIEL ARCHULETA

Managing Editor

SAMOHI The formula is simple: Play hard and win.

That’s the message Santa Monica High School softball Head Coach Debbie Skaggs has been sending to her players during this season’s California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division IV playoffs.

So far so good as Samohi has advanced to the third round today against Paloma Valley on the road.

“I keep telling them, ‘Play solid defense and hit the ball,’” Skaggs said. “If we do those things we’ll be on top.”

Those words came to pass on Tuesday as Samohi battled with Bishop Montgomery on Tuesday. The Vikings scored four runs in the top of the first inning only to see the offense go cold down the stretch. With Celisha Walker on the mound, Bishop Montgomery rallied for three runs to make it 4-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Bishop Montgomery mounted a drive that was thwarted when outfielder Hayley Condon gunned down the potential tying run at home with catcher Emma Woo making the tag to preserve the victory.

Skaggs expects Paloma Valley, who made it to the division finals last season, to give her team the business. She said that some of the mental mistakes that the Vikings made during the second round victory have to be eliminated if her team is to move on to the semifinals, which would be a first in school history.

“This is a big game for us considering that this is such a young team,” Skaggs said of her squad that includes just one senior. “They are young, but they keep taking steps forward.”

She said that this year’s team has been working to this point since many of her juniors first walked onto campus two years ago.

“It’s hard to get here,” Skaggs said. “You have to play well and sometimes there’s a little luck.

“We can’t make mistakes against great teams.”

Star hurler Walker is expected to take the mound today.

Crossroads qualifies for third round<p>

Crossroads’ baseball kept their title hopes alive by defeating Bloomington Christian 15-7 in the second round of the CIF-SS Division VI playoffs on Tuesday.

With the win, Crossroads advanced to play Santa Paula on the road today in the third round.

Pacifica Christian bows out of playoffs<p>

The Seawolves dream run has come to an end.

Playing just its first season fielding a baseball team, upstart Pacifica Christian lost to Cate 3-9 in the second round of the CIF-SS Division VII playoffs on Tuesday.