By Adam Stites/Garden Grove Journal
Pacifica’s softball team had held opponents to no more than two runs in 12 consecutive games as they entered the second round of the CIF playoffs.
Unfortunately for the Mariners, they couldn’t extend that streak to 13 as Marina’s four runs were enough to beat the them 4-1 and eliminate the M’s from the playoffs.
The matchup of the two Division One powerhouses featured a pair of pitchers that were among the county’s best during the regular season and were, coincidentally, both freshmen.
Pacifica’s Kaylee Carlson finished the regular season with a 0.75 ERA that ranked as the county’s second-best among pitchers with at least 100 innings recorded. Not far behind was Marina’s Tera Blanco who finished the regular season in fifth with a 1.10 ERA.
“She’s been lights-out. For a freshman, she’s been lights out the entire year,” said Pacifica head coach Mark Campbell of Carlson. Through the first three innings, the pair of freshman pitchers looked every bit as good as advertised with each team only able to record one hit and neither able to break the 0-0 tie.
In the top of the fourth inning, Pacifica’s Rebecca Lee managed to get the Mariners their second hit of the game when she hit a double to left-centerfield.
A passed ball through the legs of the Marina catcher shortly thereafter allowed Lee to advance to third base.
A few pitches later, Blanco walked Ciera Henson with a low pitch that again passed to the backstop. An alert Lee ran home seeing the passed ball and managed to avoid the tag from Blance to break the scoreless tie.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Carlson found herself in her first jam of the game following a lead off walk, a bunt single and an infield single. With the bases loaded and one out, a deep sacrifice fly to centerfield from Marina’s Sandra Simmons allowed Nicolette Lujan to score. Carlson forced a groundout against the subsequent batter to escape the inning and allow just one run.
It was the runs scored in the following inning, though, that proved to be insurmountable for Pacifica. A leadoff double by Jamie Sullivan got Marina off to the start they needed and it was followed by Blanco getting walked.
Kristen Struett kept the momentum going when she hit a single to third base that loaded the bases with no outs.
In what proved to be difference making at bat, Amanda Cordeiro hit a line drive just past the outstretched glove of Pacifica’s Lissa Avitia at second base, allowing two runs to score. A single by sister Keala Cordeiro two batters later allowed a fourth and final run to score.
The Mariners was unable to rally in the seventh inning and the game finished in favor of Marina, 4-1. “We’re disappointed now because really for the entire year the strength of this team was defense and pitching with timely hitting,” said Campbell. “Unfortunately we didn’t play our best defense in this game.”
Pacifica finished their season with a strong 24-3 record, but look to have an even better future ahead of them. Especially with three remaining years with Carlson leading the Mariners defense. Said Campbell, “I feel really good about [the future]; we have some good, young kids on the team.”