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CIF softball playoffs: Just the start?

Valencia here to stay in postseason despite third-place finish in league

Posted: May 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

The Valencia softball team may have missed out on the Foothill League championship this season, but its title hopes are far from over.

Against Edison of Huntington Beach, the Vikings showed why.

Entering the postseason as the league’s third-place team, Valencia found success at the plate and received a three-hitter from junior pitcher Carly Mortensen to beat the Chargers 10-1 on Friday at Edison High in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs.

The game was moved back one day due to Valencia’s graduation on Thursday.

“One of the umpires asked, ‘You are guys are a third-place team?” said Vikings head coach Donna Lee. “I said, ‘It’s a long story.’”

Part of that story starts with Mortensen, the team’s ace who missed most of the league season with a forearm injury.

After losses to Canyon, Hart, West Ranch and league-champion Saugus, Valencia (22-6), which peaked at No. 4 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association national poll this season, dropped out of the top spot for the first time in 10 years.

On Friday, Mortensen made only her second appearance in three weeks.

“I’m feeling good, a lot better than I was,” she said.

Mortensen was aided by an explosive performance by the Vikings’ offense.

Sophomore outfielder Kristina Brackpool opened the scoring with a three-run double in the second inning. Brackpool was moved up to second in the lineup for the game.

Fellow Valencia varsity newcomer, Maddy Jelenicki, followed the key second-inning hit with an RBI double of her own to give the Vikings a quick 4-0 lead.

Jelenicki added an RBI single in the fifth and Justine Sibthrop sent a two-run home run to center field to make the score 7-0 after five innings.

Valencia tacked on three more runs in the seventh on RBI singles by Karlie Habitz and Jelenicki and an RBI double by Caitlin Rooney.

Brackpool finished 2-for-5 on the day.

“Her and Jelenicki, not that Jelenicki falls under the radar, but Kristina does, and Kristina is a very good hitter,” Lee said.
Jelenicki was 3-for-5 on the day, while Bethany Kemp was 2-for-5.

Mortensen pitched a complete game, striking out four with one walk and one earned run — a solo home run by Charger Jessica Plaza.

It was all Edison (24-7), the No. 7 in the final CIF-SS Div. I coaches poll and the second-place team from the Sunset League, could manage.

“What it does is it really sets the tone for us,” Lee said of the win. “We know what to do. League is over, and there is nothing we can do about that. We can only build to our strengths, No. 1. The big thing is, we played a pretty tough schedule. I told the girls, the 27 games before this have prepared us.”

The Vikings host Vista Murrieta on Tuesday in the second round.

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