PALOMA VALLEY — Once again, the quarter finals of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section playoffs proved to be the Vikings’ undoing.
For the second straight year Santa Monica High School’s softball team advanced to the Division IV third round and again they were sent packing, this time by Paloma Valley, 0-5, on Thursday.
“We didn’t play very well,” Samohi Head Coach Debbie Skaggs said on the bus ride home. “We made too many mistakes.”
She added that the Vikings’ defense, which has been one of its strengths all season, faltered early as Samohi allowed a couple of unearned runs to score in the first inning.
“They capitalized with a line drive base hit,” she said.
Samohi was hard pressed to figure out Paloma Valley’s starting pitcher Taylor Alvarez all day. Skaggs said her squad mustered just four hits. The Vikings’ best scoring opportunity came on a long double by starting pitcher Celisha Walker that just missed being a home run by mere feet.
“We didn’t have any timely hitting,” Skaggs said. “[Alvarez is] good, but we just weren’t disciplined.
“We were swinging at her pitch not waiting for our pitch.”
The loss ends Samohi’s season, but not before the team amassed 24 wins and went a perfect 10-0 in Ocean League play.
The highlight of the Vikings’ season was the fact that they allowed just one run against league opponents all season. Skaggs and the Vikings had hope to not give up a single run to a league rival, which they accomplished last season, but came up just short of that goal.
The Vikings had not given up a run to a league foe during a 23-game stretch that spanned three seasons.
The Vikings may be smarting from this latest playoff setback, but Skaggs has optimism for the future. Her squad includes just one senior and is primarily comprised of juniors who will be returning next season a year wiser and a tad more motivated to advance Samohi to at least the semifinals of the playoffs, a goal Skaggs said is within reach.
“We’re young, but we try to take the next step every year,” she said. “We have to take that experience and use it to our advantage.”