After another undefeated season in Foothill League play, Valencia softball took home their third consecutive Foothill League title and pushed their league unbeaten win streak to 28 games.
“You just have to take one game at a time,” said Valencia head coach Donna Lee. “You want to leave a legacy and since there so many seniors we tried to make an impact in league. Now we have to make our mark in the playoffs.”
Valencia (24-7) will host Vista Murrieta in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs on Thursday.
The Southwestern League’s No. 3 team, Vista Murrieta (15-11) finished the season behind Murrieta Mesa and Great Oak, two teams that Valencia won and lost to earlier in the year, respectively.
“Those games were early in the season and the month of March was just insane. But we knew that once we got past March, we would be ready for Foothill League play and make a deep run in playoffs.”
Saugus also made it to the Division 1 playoffs as the No. 3 team out of the Foothill League after a 16-5 thumping of West Ranch last week in the regular season closer.
The Centurions (19-9) will travel to the No. 1 team out of the Coastal Canyon League, Camarillo (22-4). This will be the fourth and decisive matchup between the two schools this year.
Taking two out of the first three, the Scorpions had the Cents’ number as they put up a combined 11 runs in the first two games compared to Saugus’ six. Learning from their mistakes, the Cents came out firing and put up nine runs to win the third game.
“We know a lot about them and they know a lot about us,” said Saugus head coach Julie Archer. “To be honest, we are pretty evenly matched. They play aggressive and I think we do, too. It’s just about who gets those timely hits and who gets on base.”
The third and final team from the Foothill League, Golden Valley, got an automatic playoff berth in Division 3.
“It’s huge for us,” said Golden Valley head coach Daniel Soto. “It’s been our goal from last year. We set out these goals and didn’t meet them, but we improved and this is huge for us.”
No. 2 in Foothill League, the Grizzlies’ (18-4) will be making their first trip to the softball playoffs in the school’s history. They will be matched up against the No. 2 Mission League team, Bishop Alemany (14-10).
The Grizzlies will have ace Cassidy Cangemi on the circle, but Soto thinks the game will be decided by some other key players.
“Obviously, we have a great pitcher in Cassidy and we know that we are going to get production from the top half of the lineup, but it’s going to be up to the six-through-nine hitters. All the girls have upped their production, but we need to get more from them.”
A special first came to Santa Clarita Valley International this season as their softball team won the school’s first-ever league title in any sport.
“The girls and the whole school is on cloud nine right now with this being the school’s first league title ever,” said SCVi head coach Ken Erenberg.
With a 10-3 record and an undefeated in Omega League season, the Stallions will play the wild winner of a wild-card game between Coastal Christian of the Coast Valley League and Flintridge Prep of the Prep League in the first round of the Division 7 playoffs.
Preparing for a tough matchup, coach Erenberg said he’s changed things up a bit at practice to get ready for Thursday’s game.
“We are trying to get used to faster pitches because both teams have good pitchers,” Erenberg said. “Yesterday in practice, I was pitching at the girls to get them adjusted for the speed that they will be facing.”
Trinity (5-7), the Heritage’s League No. 2, will also be joining the Stallions in the Division 7 playoffs where they will face off against St. Mary’s Academy (13-5).
“The girls are excited since I don’t think any of them have ever been to playoffs before,” said Trinity head coach Craig Massetto. “But we’re just going to go in there with the confidence that we have had throughout league and leave it out on the field.”
All games are scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m.