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Costa Mesa punches playoff ticket

High School Softball

Mustangs defeat Laguna Beach for second time, clinching third place in Orange Coast League.

May 10, 2011|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com

LAGUNA BEACH — Alex Krohnfeldt was supposed to cut out by 5 p.m.

The Costa Mesa High senior shortstop was set to receive a scholarship Tuesday evening at a school board meeting. The commute from Thurston Middle School in Laguna Beach back to Newport-Mesa wasn't guaranteed to be friendly, especially during rush hour.

Costa Mesa Coach Nichole Maddox begged Krohnfeldt's mom for 15 more minutes between innings of Tuesday's Orange Coast League showdown at Laguna Beach. As it turned out, the shortstop stayed for the whole game even though it ended just after 5:30 p.m.

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"She was supposed to leave at 5 o'clock," Maddox said, smiling. "It didn't quite happen."

Krohnfeldt and her teammates could smile as well after producing a 6-3 victory that clinched Mesa's third straight postseason appearance. The Mustangs had been tied with the Breakers headed into the game but now, with a game to go, Mesa (7-15, 5-4 in league) has clinched third place in league and the CIF Southern Section Division V playoff spot that goes with it.

Even if Laguna Beach (9-8-1, 4-5) wins Thursday at last-place Saddleback and Costa Mesa loses to cross-town rival Estancia, the Mustangs have the head-to-head tiebreaker.

"We knew it was make or break," said senior second baseman Sami Feinstein, who was one for four with a run batted in and two stolen bases. "For my senior year, it definitely means a lot to me. My other two sports that I've played [volleyball and soccer], we've been so close but we haven't been able to persevere all the way until the end. For it to be my final sport in high school and to make it into the playoffs, I feel like it's a really good way to close my four years that I've been here playing three sports. I'm really, really excited."

The Mustangs broke open a 3-3 game with a big seventh inning. With one out, junior Donne Obong reached on a two-base throwing error, and she was bunted to third by senior Nikki Lether.

Senior Itzel Flores followed with a hard shot past shortstop and all the way to the center-field wall. The RBI triple gave Mesa a 4-3 lead, but the Mustangs weren't done. Feinstein's single to center scored Flores, then Feinstein stole second and third. She came in on Krohnfeldt's infield single to third base, and the Mustangs had their 6-3 advantage.

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