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Valencia softball can't claw back

Posted: May 20, 2014 9:53 p.m.
Updated: May 20, 2014 9:53 p.m.
 

The Vikings fell behind early in Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section first-round matchup with Oxnard High, and their sixth-inning rally fell short in a 5-2 opening-round loss.

Valencia entered the postseason after finishing third in the Foothill League in 2014, and had expected to receive a wild-card game on Monday before the brackets revealed they had been placed directly into the first-round matchup with Oxnard.

Trailing 5-1 in the sixth, Wendy Cardinali led off with a single and eventually scored on an RBI-single from Dominque Salgado.

But Yellowjackets (19-9) pitcher Olivia Serrano got Nicole Joseph to fly out to left and end the threat.

“(Oxnard) got the hits when they needed to and we didn’t,” said Valencia head coach Donna Lee. “That’s what it came down to.”

Valencia (14-16) opened their scoring in the third when Kyra Naftel led off with a double to left, and advanced to third on the throw before scoring on a bunt from Emma Stanley.

Elaine Bunyan took to the circle for Valencia, going six innings and allowing two earned runs and three walks.

But two early runs put Valencia in an immediate hole.

Bunyan walked Sabrina Garcia with one out in the first, and Genesis Ramirez doubled her home to open the scoring.

Genesis would score on a bunt single from Meagan Contreras that made the score 2-0.

Valencia pulled within 2-1 when Naftel scored in the third, but that was the closest the Vikings would get all day.

An RBI double from Isis Cabral in the fourth gave Oxnard a 3-1 lead, and the Yellowjackets opened it up in the fifth with two unearned runs off a two-RBI double from Alicia Gonzalez.

“They got what they needed,” Lee said. “Of course when you give teams an opportunity to cash in, whether it’s errors or walks, good teams will make you pay.”

The loss ends the Vikings season in the first round for the second straight year, but they graduate just three seniors off the 2014 squad: McKinna Withers, Wendy Cardinali, Salgado, Erica Esparza and Emma Stanley.

“It was really kind of like a team that came together and you know what, we beat the teams we needed to in league and our goal coming in was to make the playoffs,” Lee said.

Signal Assistant Sports Editor Dan Agnew contributed to this report.

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