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Vikings coming around

Posted: April 25, 2008 2:38 a.m.
Updated: June 26, 2008 5:02 a.m.

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Valencia head softball coach Donna Lee was pretty clear after the Vikings win Thursday afternoon.

"We are the best team in the league, we just have to start playing like it," Lee said.

The Vikings took a step closer to playing like it in a 3-1 victory over Golden Valley (11-11, 1-6) Thursday afternoon at Valhalla Field at Valencia High.

Starting pitcher Jessica Spigner did it all for Valencia striking out 10 batters from the circle and ripping a two-run home run to give the Vikings (20-5, 5-1) all the runs they would need.

In the first meeting between these two teams, the Vikings won via the mercy rule 11-0. This time, however, it was a somewhat different story, but the same end result.

Spigner and Golden Valley starting pitcher Kristen Uthe matched each other through the first two innings, but Spigner proved to be the difference in the third.

With two out, and Lani Bernadino on second, Spigner ripped an 0-1 pitch deep over the left field wall for a 2-0 Viking lead.

Uthe recovered to record the last out of the inning to prevent further damage but Valencia had all the offense it would need.

In the bottom of the fourth, though, Bethany Kemp made sure that there would be no comeback from Golden Valley.

Kemp delivered a solo home run to swing all the momentum to the Vikings side.

"When I came up I was just thinking I needed to do something to get some runs on the board," Kemp said. "I just saw the ball and I'm just happy it went out. It felt good and as soon as I looked up I knew it was out."

The blast gave Valencia a 3-0 lead, and kept the pressure on the Grizzly to score and play solid defense to stay in the game.

Golden Valley freshman Branndi Melero then delivered on both keeping the Grizzlies in the game on defense, and then providing some dramatic pop from the plate.

In the bottom of the fifth, Melero came up with the play of the game making a spectacular catch in center field of Spigner.

Spigner crushed a 1-1 pitch near the wall in right-center field looking like a sure double until Melero came out of nowhere and snagged the ball just before it hit the ground.

"The centerfielder made a great catch," Lee said of the freshman. "She is a stud and played a great game."

In the top of the sixth, Melero led off the inning and accounted for the only Grizzly run driving a Spigner pitch over the left field wall.

"It felt great. I just saw that nice fastball on the inside and I just turned on it," Melero said.

That brought the Grizzlies to 3-1, but that was all they would get.

Spigner retired the side in order in the seventh and the Vikings can turn their attention to recapturing the Foothill League title once again.

There are some improvements that need to made, however, and offense is one are that needs improvement.

"Right now, some of the girls are seeing the ball but just over-swinging," Lee said. "We have been working on that in practice to just play the game and to get their confidence back."

Now, both teams head into the final week of the season with different goals.

While Golden Valley looks to maintain momentum from its close loss, Valencia will look to finish business Tuesday against West Ranch setting up a showdown next Thursday against Hart.

"Every game is important. We have to be hungry, everyone has to want to be the hero," Lee said of her team. "We have to take care of business in order for the Hart game to mean something."


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