The Wilson softball team was down to the last inning of its season, facing a 2-0 deficit in a first-round CIF Southern Section playoff game. The Bruins had been kept off the scoreboard all game, but the optimism in the dugout was obvious—and justified. Wilson came back to score three runs in the bottom of the seventh, securing a walkoff win to stay alive in the playoffs, 3-2.
“That’s how it’s been all year with this team,” said Bruins coach George Molina. “They support each other—if it’s not one person it’s another.”
The Bruins got a heroic effort on the mound from senior pitcher Joey Vega, who was battling through a leg injury. Her discomfort was obvious and she played parts of the game with a brace and parts of it without.
“She’s not 100% but she’s going to give us 100%,” said Molina.
The bottom of the seventh started with a singe from sophomore Sinclair Lawhorn, and then Amanda Castro reaching base after being hit by a pitch. Freshman Ava Trachta’s single to centerfield scored Ashley Pottenger, pinch running for Lawhorn. That brought the Bruins within one run with two on and just one out.
Junior Griselda Jimenez’s RBI single scored Castro to tie the game, and then freshman Hailey Houston was walked to load the bases with just one out. Of all players, it was Vega coming to the plate.
With just one out, Vega’s options were plenty—and she hit a hard fly ball to left field. The Irvine leftfielder caught it, and Trachta took off towards home, sliding in safe and setting off a huge celebration for the Bruins.
“I trusted Ava, I knew she’d score,” said Vega. “I’m just really happy that all that hard work paid off this year.”
Wilson won its first league title since 2012 and now its first playoff game since 2011.
Vega grudgingly admitted after the celebration was over that she was playing through a difficult injury. Asked what percentage of health she was at, she said it was probably her jersey number—77.
“It was to where I couldn’t walk to school this morning,” she said. Now, the Bruins are running on to the second round of the playoffs, where they’ll travel to Atascadero High on Tuesday afternoon.
CIF Softball: Long Beach Wilson vs. Irvine
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Lakewood 4, Cypress 2 >> The Lancers advanced to the second round and will host top-seeded Buena in the second round on Tuesday.
West 10, St. Anthony 6 >> The Saints fell in their playoff opener despite a 3-3 start on the day from Oklahoma commit Tiare Jennings.
Woodbridge 5, Millikan 1 >> The Rams were held to just one hit in a first-round playoff loss.