The final leg of the 2014 prep softball season, the CIF Southern Section divisional playoffs, got underway Tuesday for three local teams. Marina and Ocean View both kept their title hopes alive but for Huntington Beach, its season came to an end.
Marina, the fifth-ranked team in Division 1, moved on in the postseason by defeating visiting Yorba Linda, 5-2. Senior ace Tera Blanco (22-4) pitched a six-hitter and senior Keala Cordeiro went three for three for the Vikings, co-champions of the Sunset League who improved to 23-6.
Yorba Linda, the third-place team from the Empire League, held a 2-1 lead after 3 1/2 innings. Marina scored four runs in the bottom-half of the innings to go in front for good.
Marina advances to a 3:15 p.m. second-round game at 10th-ranked Canyon/Anaheim Thursday. The Comanches, the third-place team from the Century League, bumped off Saugus (Foothill League No. 2), 4-3, Tuesday.
"At this point, the girls need to play as they know it, don't over-think, and play relaxed and smart," Marina Coach Shelly Luth said. "There are three things needed to win: good pitching, we have it; good defense, we have it, and timely hitting, we need to have it."
Huntington, which won a share of the Sunset League title, dropped a 9-5 first-round game to visiting Cypress (Empire League No. 2). The sixth-ranked Oilers fell behind early to the Centurions who hit two home runs to take the lead.
Sophomore Kristina Inouye had three hits including a home run and freshman Ivy Davis also had three hits to lead the Oilers'' 13-hit attack. Sophomore Alyssa Horeczko struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings of relief duty and, "pitched brilliantly," Huntington Coach Jeff Forsberg said.
The Oilers ended the year 20-6, posting the best record in program history. A share of the Sunset title was their first league title in 18 years.
Tuesday marked the final game for senior standouts Sammie Vandiver (Cal State Fullerton), Micaela Vierra (Santa Clara), Jacqui Pascual (Maryland) and Jazerine Alvarez (Sterling College).
Vandiver, Vierra and Pascual each were four-year starters.
"We had a great year," Forsberg said. "I'm so proud of this group and what they accomplished. This was one of the best teams on and off the field that I have coached and we really played with a purpose and systematic understanding all year long. We will miss the seniors but what they accomplished this year will last forever."
Ocean View is moving on in the Division 4 playoffs after opening with a 4-1 home win over Cerritos Valley Christian (Olympic League No. 2). Junior Billi Derleth pitched a complete game two-hitter and struck out eight to get her 12th win of the season. Senior Tobi Salzman got the offense going for the seventh-ranked Seahawks, the No. 2 team from the Golden West League, by hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the first to tie the score at 1-1.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the fourth where junior Jade Bustamonte lined a triple to right-center field to drive in two runs to put Ocean View (19-6) ahead for good. Junior Anika Ortiz followed with an RBI ground out that scored Bustamonte for a 4-1 advantage.
"We came out a little flat to start the game," Ocean View Coach Mike McLaughlan said. "Their pitcher kept us off balance with a lot of off-speed pitches until Jade [Bustamonte] connected for her two-run triple.
"Combined with great defense and pitching, we held on for the victory."
The Seahawks will host Ocean League champion Santa Monica in a 3:15 p.m. second-round game Thursday. The Vikings advanced by defeating Ramona, 3-0, Tuesday.
Santa Monica reached the Divison 4 title game last year and finished runner-up to Hemet.
All division quarterfinal round games are Saturday . Division semifinal games are at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.
On the final day of the Sunset League softball season May 15, the title chase ended in a co-championship between Huntington and Marina. The Oilers were upended, 1-0, at Los Alamitos. The Vikings, one game behind the Oilers in the league standings heading into the league finale, routed visiting Newport Harbor, 12-0.
The win, coupled with Huntington's loss to Los Al, gave the defending league champion Vikings a portion of the title.