Remove the seniors from this year’s Pacifica Christian softball team, and there wouldn’t have been a Pacifica Christian softball team.

The graduating players make up more than half of the 13-member roster, and they capped their high school careers by leading the squad into the CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoffs.

“This senior class was foundational,” coach Mike Dolan said, noting that six of the girls were part of the program’s inception in 2013. “Losing them is like losing your own kids. We’re going to miss all of them. But the legacy they will leave with regards to toughness and work ethic is something that the younger players have caught on to.”

The Seawolves (13-9), who tied for first place in the Liberty League, began their foray in the postseason May 19 with a duel against Ventura-Foothill Tech in the wild-card round.

Trailing by three in the final inning, they plated four runs with their season in the line to pull off a thrilling 5-4 victory.

“These girls never quit,” Dolan said. “We’ve faced some pretty good pitching, and it shows the intelligence of our players that they can catch up to the pitcher. If they do, look out.”

The win propelled Pacifica Christian into a first-round meeting with Avalon, requiring a trip to Catalina Island. The team took a boat from Long Beach in the morning, ate lunch on the island and hiked about a mile and a half up a hill to the diamond for the game.

The journey was fruitful, as the Seawolves combined to score 11 runs in the fourth and fifth innings as part of a 13-7 triumph. Their defense in the bottom of the fifth was less-than-perfect, Dolan said, but they did enough to return home at 9 p.m. with the right to keep playing.

“It was a fun day all around,” he said. “We played good softball. We pitched very well and played defense for pretty much 6 1/3 innings. … It was a fantastic experience for the girls.”

Pacifica Christian’s memorable postseason came to an end Tuesday against Pasadena-St. Monica Academy, which advanced to the quarterfinals with a narrow 9-8 win at Clover Park.

The Seawolves dug themselves an early hole, falling behind 7-1 midway through the fifth inning. Although they put up a fight by pushing across four runs in the final frame, their deficit proved insurmountable.

“We started the motor a little too late,” Dolan said. “We left a couple runs out there. We hit the ball well, but we didn’t convert and we had a few too many errors. There were so many little things.”

Pacifica freshman Leah Majors overcame a hip injury to throw five innings in the circle, and senior Emma Miller pitched the final two stanzas.

Injuries forced the squad to mix and match all year, Dolan said. Case in point: Seawolves senior Hailey Ennis played at first base, second base, shortstop and left field in the season-ending loss to St. Monica Academy.

It meant the end of the road for Miller and Ennis as well as Darielle Preston, Sarah Schultz, Hannah Stanford, Walanda Flowers and Cameron Parks.

“It was a great season and a great experience,” Dolan said. “Not everything goes the way you want it to, but the girls hopefully learned a little about themselves.”

Dolan added that he’s encouraged by what he saw from the girls who are eligible to return next year, including several standout freshmen. But he acknowledged it’ll be different without such a seminal senior class.

“We’re going to take a bit of a hit,” he said.

Mariners ousted by Argos

The St. Monica Catholic softball team’s season came to an end Tuesday at Memorial Park with an 11-1 loss to Garden Grove in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs.

The Mariners finished their campaign with a 17-7-1 record and a 6-3 mark in the Camino Real League, where they took second behind San Pedro-Mary Star of the Sea.

St. Monica began its postseason with an 11-0 drubbing of La Puente in the opening round May 21. It was the Mariners’ sixth shutout win of the season and second in a 10-day span.

But coach Joey Carrillo’s team couldn’t recreate the magic May 26 against Garden Grove, which needed just five innings to secure a spot in the quarterfinals.

It was the final high school game for St. Monica’s four seniors: pitcher/infielder Katie Kaufman, third baseman Veronica Navarro and outfielders Amy Flores and Mia Strauss.

The program moved up a level this season after reaching the quarterfinals in Division 6 as part of a 20-win campaign last year.

Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, jeff@www.smdp.com or on Twitter.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *