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CIF softball: Valencia softball doesn’t flinch

Vikings win close game after rout in opener

Posted: May 25, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 25, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Valencia pitcher Carly Mortensen delivers against Vista Murrieta during the second inning on Tuesday in the CIF-Southern Section Division I second round at Valencia High School.

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Valencia softball’s CIF-Southern Section Division I first-round matchup was a rout.

The second round required a bit more finesse.

Vikings right fielder Andrea Brackpool’s RBI single in the sixth inning was a difference in a tightly contested 1-0 pitcher’s duel between Carly Mortensen and Vista Murrieta’s Selina Ta’amilo on Tuesday at Valencia High School.

“Usually with us, we’ll score a run but score a lot more after,” Brackpool said. “In the game today, we had to get one run and finish it.”

Vista Murrieta entered the game as the four-time defending Southwestern League champion and gave the Vikings a much closer game than their first-round 10-1 win over Edison of Huntington Beach on Thursday.

“It wasn’t pretty, but we got a ‘W,’” said Valencia head coach Donna Lee of the much tighter result.

Mortensen finished with nine strikeouts and allowed only one walk and three hits, including two in the seventh inning. The Vikings junior allowed a leadoff single in the first, then struck out seven Broncos in a row.

Meanwhile, the Broncos freshman had 10 strikeouts with four hits and two walks.

“I was fired up the whole game,” Mortensen said. “She was doing just as good, and I wanted to match it.”

The Vikings (23-6) stranded at least one runner in each inning leading up to the sixth, when Brackpool finally broke the game open.

Valencia catcher Karlie Habitz led off the frame with a single, and her courtesy runner, Wendy Cardinali, was promptly bunted to second base by senior Caitlin Rooney. Two batters later, Brackpool hit a ground ball toward second base that took a late high hop and skipped into center field.

Cardinali rounded third and was waved home, scoring easily.

“We knew we were in for a battle,” said Vista Murrieta head coach Daniel Torres. “The team that flinches first was going to lose, and we flinched.”

The Broncos (20-8) responded in the seventh with a leadoff double by shortstop Sierra Romero and a one-out infield single by Katie Tackett. The ball was fielded by Vikings shortstop Justine Sibthorp, who checked to second, keeping Romero from advancing.

Mortensen struck out the next two batters to end the game, putting the Vikings into the quarterfinals, where they will play the winner of Wednesday’s Etiwanda-El Modena game on Thursday at Valencia. Etiwanda is the bracket’s No. 2 overall seed.

“Each game we battle and get a little chip of confidence,” Mortensen said. “We are building up motivation with every game we win.”

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