SAMOHI — For a team that doesn’t face adversity very often, the Santa Monica High School Vikings proved that they can do the little things that win close playoff games.
The Samohi Vikings softball team didn’t streak out to their customary big lead against Garden Grove on Tuesday on campus, but instead had to plod its way to a 3-1 victory during the second round of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.
“It felt great getting a tough win,” said Samohi’s Holly Elander, who drove in the second run of the game for Samohi with a run-scoring single. “We are ready this year.”
The game was dominated by starting pitching: Celisha Walker for Samohi and Jasmine Antunez for Garden Grove. Both hurlers pitched a complete game, but it was Walker who walked away with her second win of the postseason. Walker finished the day giving up one run and striking out five.
“Their pitcher was great,” Garden Grove Head Coach John Petrie said of Walker. “I really can’t think of one negative.”
Walker began the game by breezing through the first three innings. It wasn’t until the fourth that Garden Grove broke through and tied the score at 1-1 with an RBI single by Garden Grove’s Briana Williams. Antunez followed and sacrificed Williams to second giving Garden Grove a runner in scoring position with one out. Walker was able to induce a line-drive from Monique Yslas that Samohi third baseman Hayley Condon grabbed and promptly threw to second to double up Williams, ending the scoring threat.
The play of the game came during the bottom of the sixth inning with Samohi looking to pad a slim 2-1 lead. Condon drew a one-out walk. Natalie Abel came to the plate and slapped a double to left field that set Condon in motion with scoring on her mind. Waved in by Assistant Coach Dan Ramos, Condon rounded third and slid into home plate just before the relay throw reached Garden Grove’s catcher. She was safe and Samohi had the insurance run it needed.
Walker finished Garden Grove off with a one-two-three top of the seventh to cement the win.
“I knew I was going to be safe,” Condon said. “I trust my speed.”
With the victory, Samohi advances to the quarter finals of the playoffs for the third straight year. The team has lost in that round the past two seasons, but Head Coach Debbie Skaggs feels “pretty good” about her team’s chances going forward. The team will play the winner of the St. Joseph/Pomona Catholic game, also held on Tuesday. Results were not available at presstime.
“They are both pretty good teams,” Skaggs said of either potential opponent. “Hopefully, we can get another home game out of it.”