The monkey is off the Vikings’ back.
The Samohi girls softball team advanced to the CIF-SS Division 4 semifinals with a thrilling win over the Pomona Catholic Pacers on Thursday.
The quarterfinals have been the end of the line for the Vikings the last two years, but thanks to a clutch hit by Kaile Nakao in the top of the seventh, the Vikings are on to the next round.
Pitcher Celisha Walker went 3 for 4 with an RBI and three stolen bases, in addition to allowing only 4 hits and one earned run. Errors by the Vikings allowed the Pacers to reach home, and the Pacers’ pitcher had ten strikeouts, but also allowed ten hits.
It kept the game closer than it should have been, Said Vikings coach Debbie Skaggs.
“We made three errors in the game that gave them 2 runs,” Skaggs said. “We also left seven runners on base.”
The Vikings scored first, with one run in the top of the fourth. But the Pacers answered with two of their own in the bottom. In the fifth, the Vikings reclaimed the lead with a pair of runs. But the Pacers kept pace with a tying run in the bottom of the fifth.
After a scoreless sixth, the Vikings took control in the seventh, when Nakao blasted a bomb to deep center field, rounded the bases, and avoided the tag-out sliding into home. The Pacers were unable to muster a run in the bottom of the seventh, and the Vikings made it out of the quarterfinals. It was a tremendous effort, and one years in the making.
“It feels incredible,” Skagg said. “The thing is, our seniors have been here before. And they didn’t want to take that long bus ride home. They knew they had to dig deep.”