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Deja-Vu-again

Posted: May 23, 2008 1:41 a.m.
Updated: July 24, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Valencia High's Bethany Kemp belts a home run in the sixth inning of the CIF Division I quarterfinal game against Corona. The Vikings won, 6-0, to advance to the section semifinals.

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It's starting to look familiar. The 2007 CIF-Southern Section Division I champion Valencia Vikings softball team is one step closer to another championship. The Vikings advanced to the semifinals with a shut-out defeat over Corona 5-0 at Valhalla field.

But before it can smell the championship once more, Valencia will face the Mountain View League's No. 1 finisher, Santiago.

With the elimination of Hart on Thursday, the Vikings will be the only Foothill League team represented in the final rounds.

The Vikings (27-5-1) aren't looking past any team at this point and while they bask in Thursday's victory, it's back to work before they hit the semis.

"I'm going to enjoy it and we're going to come back and work hard in practice," said Valencia head coach Donna Lee. "Santiago is a very good team, they're beatable but very good."

Valencia has already faced Santiago this season in a tournament and lost 3-0.

The loss to Santiago doesn't discourage the Vikings, Lee said the team will be more prepared when they face them again.

"They're gonna see a different Valencia team," Lee said.

In Thursday's match-up against the Panthers, the Vikings offense dominated.

Starting pitcher Jessica Spigner held Corona (24-10) to just two hits, pitching a complete game shut-out and striking out eight. Spigner won her 27th game of the season.

In the bottom of the fourth, Spigner kick-started the Valencia offense with a solo home run over the left field wall followed by a four run explosion in the fifth.

"Jessica basically got us started," Lee said. "Hitting is contagious and when she hit that home run it sent a message to the whole team."

In the bottom of the fifth with two outs and Valencia leading 1-0, Vikings shortstop Madison Shipman stepped to the plate.

Shipman needed a base hit to drive in a Vikings insurance run. With the count at 1-2, Shipman battled at the plate and on the 11th pitch of the at-bat hit a line drive double to left field to give Valencia a 3-0 lead.

"I take one pitch at a time and I stay focused," Shipman said. "It was a long at-bat but I came through for the team, it's my job."

Two batters later Shipman scored on a passed ball and Megan Foglesong singled to drive in another run for the Valencia team.

The Vikings final run came off a solo home run from freshman Bethany Kemp in the sixth.

Shipman and Kemp finished 1-for-4 on the game.

The Vikings now look towards their Tuesday match-up against Santiago in a location to be determined by today's coin flip.

And with a championship title looming, Valencia remains motivated to capture it again.

"I'm really proud of these girls, " Lee said. "Everything came together. This is what you expect at the end of the season, peaking at the right time, and we got to keep it going into Tuesday."

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