(photo by Wendy Perl Perlphoto.com)

SAMOHI — Norm Lacy would have loved it.

The late athletic director at Santa Monica High School was remembered during a pre-game ceremony before the Vikings defeated Torrance, 1-0, on Thursday at Samohi to advance to the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 4 finals.

On most days, the victory itself would have been the news of the day. But, on Tuesday, seemingly everybody in the considerably packed house had Lacy on their minds and in their hearts.

“I kept thinking of Norm,” Samohi Head Coach Debbie Skaggs said. “It was strange not seeing him here.”

While the pre-game tribute that included all of the school’s student athletes was touching, there was still a game to be played, something Samohi Principal Hugo Pedroza said Lacy would have insisted on.

“We all know [Lacy] would have been here cheering on the girls,” Pedroza said before the game.

While Lacy dominated the emotional part of the day, Samohi’s Celisha Walker continued her stellar march through the postseason. The senior pitcher, who is committed to play for New Mexico State next season, tossed a complete game shutout, giving up just two hits while striking out six.

Her Torrance counterpart, Lauren de Castro, pitched a complete game as well but started the game a bit wild.

She hit the game’s first batter, Hayley Condon, and walked two of the next three to load the bases for Holly Elander, who too was hit by a pitch, scoring Condon for the game’s only run.

Walker took it from there and effectively shut down Torrance for the victory and a trip to the CIF-SS finals, which will be played either Friday or Saturday at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine. The Vikings will play the winner of the Buena/North Torrance game. The score was not available at presstime.

“We just couldn’t manufacture runs,” Torrance Head Coach Don Glavich said. “[Walker] pitched a great game.”

Walker, who has collected wins in every playoff game this season, was cool and composed following the game. But, when talk turned to the final, she livened up.

“I’m really excited,” Walker said. “This is the seniors’ last year, so we have to go big.”

Samohi’s Skaggs, who is retiring from coaching after 24 years of leading the Vikings, agreed, but added that her team would have to do a better job at the plate to take home the team’s first CIF-SS softball title.

“We have to swing the bats,” Skaggs said, “and keep playing our game: pitching, timely hitting and defense.”


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