Valencia softball finished another successful chapter on Tuesday after falling on the road to Huntington Beach, 3-0, in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
“We just couldn’t muster a key hit with runners in scoring position,” said Vikings coach Donna Lee.
The Vikes (25-8), who captured their third consecutive Foothill League championship title this season, held the Oilers scoreless until the fifth inning.
With runners on second and third, Huntington Beach scored on a single then on an error by a Valencia shortstop for a 2-0 lead.
The Oilers (21-7) added one run to their lead in the following frame and the Vikings couldn’t recover. In the sixth inning, they hit back-to-back singles but were unable to drive in a run.
“We got them stranded,” Lee said. “That’s the inning we needed to produce something and we didn’t.”
Noel Dominguez was successful on Valencia’s offense, going 2-for-3 with a double.
“She’s very aggressive at the plate and plays a great third base. She’s going to be missed next year,” Lee said. “She’s had a fabulous season. This is probably her best as a Viking.”
Eight seniors from the Valencia roster will be graduating this year and all eight will be heading to college to continue their playing careers. The Vikings will also be returning a combined six sophomores and freshmen from this year’s team who each have playoff experience.
“I think the biggest thing is the experience and how to handle pressure,” said Lee. “When you have eight seniors that are going on to play college softball, the experience you get from the other kids (is great).”
Valencia tore through Foothill League play, logging an undefeated 10-0 record and outscoring league opponents 49-11. It beat Vista Murrieta at home in the first round of the CIF-SS postseason 2-1.
There’s little time to rest for the team as summer camp starts up on June 4.
“This chapter is in, but all the seniors, the book on Valencia softball has ended and you guys left a legacy,” said Lee. “Three years of Foothill League championships. You’ve got to hold your head high and your new chapter is going to start sooner than you think.”