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Playing for the ship part two

Posted: May 31, 2008 1:57 a.m.
Updated: August 1, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 

And so it begins.

The 2007-CIF Southern Section Division II champion Valencia softball team will defend its title today in the final round of CIF playoffs.

Valencia (28-5-1) faces an undefeated Simi Valley squad today in the championship game at Deanna Manning Field in Irvine at 6:00p.m.

The Pioneers have not dropped a single game this season, finishing atop the Marmonte League (30-0, 14-0) and entering into today's game as the No.1 seed in Division II.

Vikings head coach Donna Lee said the team may have its hands full but they welcome the challenge.

"All 32 games played before this have only prepped us for this one," she said. "It's not going to be anything different, we just have to go out there and play ball."

Last year, the Vikings faced Hart in the championship game, a team they were familiar with.

This year, not the same circumstances.

This will be the first meeting for the two clubs this season, and Lee said the defending champs, seeded No. 3, aren't feeling any stress.

"We're pumped. We have no pressure on this game, we're the underdog." she said. "They're the No. 1 seed. We don't know Simi, we don't know what they're going to pull out of their hat."

The Vikings will be led by hurler Jessica Spigner while Simi's Kelli-Jo Killingsworth takes the mound for the Pioneers.

"I'm very excited," said Vikings short stop Madison Shipman. "I'm feeling confident and Jessie's in her zone."

Lee said the team's three hour practice on Friday was intense. The team prepared for the championship game working on the fundamentals.

"We have to go out there and control what we can control and that's the basics," Lee added.

With Spigner on the mound and the Vikings' steady defense, Shipman said the team doesn't have to make a lot of adjustments to compete against the Pioneer squad.

"We're going in with the same game plan," she said. "We know they are a really good team, but we just have to play Valencia softball."

With a fairly different roster from last year, Lee said there is no comparison with this season's burgeoning squad.

"We are a very young team. But the difference this year is our offense and defense and of course Jessie's arm."

For Lee and the rest of the team, Saturday will be business as usual.

"I really believe in this team." Lee said. "We just have to go out there and play our game and make things happen."
Lee's slogan for the game.

"Pound the Pioneers."

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