Central’s chaotic scoring frenzy wins first-round CIF playoffs
EL CENTRO — The Central Union High softball team used a controlled chaos style of scoring to defeat La Jolla Country Day School, 8-1, in the first round of the CIF-San Diego Section Div. III playoffs on Thursday at Emma Jones Field here.
The No. 2 Spartans were able to coordinate their ground ball hits with solid base running to dominate the No. 7 Torreys.
This marks the Spartan’s second straight appearance in the Div. III playoffs, and with the win, the team will be playing again Saturday at home in the double-elimination tourney.
“Coming into this, we were seeded number two, so we kind of felt a pressure there,” CUHS sophomore Jessica Acosta said. “People were thinking we’re the best, so we needed to play up to the best.”
After a slow and scoreless first and second inning, La Jolla’s Malia Acol scored from second base at the top of the third inning to give the Torreys their first and only lead of the game, 1-0.
The Spartans then came out in an explosive fashion, scoring four runs to close out the third inning.
“We created chaos,” Central Union’s head softball coach Chris Acosta said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to get them to understand: If it’s close, it just takes one little fire to light it, then the flood gates open.”
Scoring the four runs were Central’s Viviana Morales, Mia Perez, Karmina Becerra and Acosta.
“Today’s game was a team effort,” Jessica said. “We came out a little slow, then after the first inning we said, ‘We need to win this, this is CIF.’ So we pulled together, and we started going as a team, and it was one hit after another.”
Coach Acosta credited his team’s dominant victory to his starting pitcher Janyssa Martin, who was relieved in the seventh inning by Becerra.
“It all starts with the pitching,” Acosta said. “Our pitchers pounded the zone, threw a lot of strikes, forced them to put the ball in play, and when you do that, nothing but good things could happen.”
Central would continue chaos at the top of the fourth inning as Amanda Alcala scored from third base to increase the lead to 5-1.
The Spartans’ Janyssa Martin was then able to drive teammates Morales and Perez, who were on second and third base respectively, home to score on a hit.
Martin crossed the plate with the final tally when Becerra drove her in.
There was no more scoring after the fourth, and the Spartans were able to add one more win to their overall record, 18-9. Before Thursday’s game, Central was on a three-game losing streak.
“If you’ve followed our games all year, we’ve started off strong and then kind of relaxed, and we’ve been on them about bringing an hour and 45-minutes of chaos,” coach Acosta said. “We’ve been telling them we need seven innings of complete, focused chaotic-tempo energy, and today they did.”
The Spartans are hopeful their CIF experience doesn’t repeat last year’s, when they won their first playoff game, only to lose the following two.
“I think that everyone has a burn from last year still, like we still don’t want that to happen again,” Jessica said. “So I think that’s our motivation to keep going. We’re saying it’s not going to happen again, and we’re just pushing to get through the end.”
The Spartans are set to host Helix High at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Central Union High’s Aleah Cardenas swings at a pitch during the first round of the CIF-San Diego Section Div. III playoffs at Emma Jones Field on Thursday in El Centro.
Central Union High’s Vivana Morales sprints to third base during the first round of the CIF-San Diego Section Div. III playoffs at Emma Jones Field on Thursday in El Centro.