“10-0 sounds a whole lot better than 9-0 doesn’t it,” Valencia High softball coach Donna Lee excitedly asked her team on Thursday afternoon.
The Foothill League champion Vikings had just defeated Canyon High 7-1 at home on senior day.
“I’m just really glad because our team works really hard and we deserve it,” said Viking Kyla Hardy. “We practice hard every day.”
Valencia (22-7 overall, 10-0 in Foothill League) rode the strong pitching of Shea O’Leary through all seven innings. The junior allowed two hits and struck out 10.
“I’m just trying to focus on my mechanics, hitting my spots and making sure the ball is moving,” O’Leary said. “I try to relax out there and then just make sure that I’m having fun.”
In the first inning, the Vikes scored three runs to earn an early lead.
Canyon (13-13, 4-6) followed up in the top of the second with a run of its own off an Alexis DeYoung single.
“Those hits were making it look good at first and they were quality,” said Canyon coach Jeanette Sauceda Reynolds. “I think the errors on our part defensively kind of brought the excitement down. It brought our team down.”
Valencia scored on a Makayla Paragas sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second. It tacked on three more runs in the fourth inning – Kelia Paragas had an RBI single and Hardy hit a two-run double.
A focal point for the Vikings as they head into the postseason is keeping the strong defense it displayed in the regular season finale.
“That keeps us in every game,” Lee said. “Shea is going to keep you in every game. That’s just the nature of what it is. She’s got a good defense behind her.”
Kelia Paragas finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs for the Vikings. Julia Fuentes and Noel Dominguez also had one RBI apiece.
For the Cowboys, who ended the regular season tied with Hart for third place in league, Erika Andrus was 1-for-3 and DeYoung was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Hart earned the league’s third and final guaranteed playoff entry due to a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Cowboys.
Canyon is eligible for an at-large berth because they finished 13-13 overall.
To qualify for an at-large bid to the playoffs, a team must have a .500 or above overall record.
Saugus 3, West Ranch 0
Leslie Reynaga pitched a complete-game shutout for the Centurions (16-12, 6-4), who finished second in the Foothill League and earned a guaranteed playoff entry.
Saugus’ Cassidy FitzGerald homered.
Jaclyn Napoli went 2-for-3 with a double for West Ranch (10-17, 3-7).
Wildcat Jenna Rorick pitched all six innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs.
Hart 8, Golden Valley 3
The Indians (15-12, 4-6) moved into a tie for third place with Canyon, and earned the Foothill’s third and final guaranteed playoff entry due to beating the Cowboys twice.
Golden Valley finishes the year 12-13 overall and 3-7 in league.
Hart’s Kylie Norwood was 3-for-3. She also pitched a complete game.
Abby Sweet and Jordyn Gasper were both 2-for-3.
Andrea Cespedes homered and had three RBIs.