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Playoff win remains elusive for Mesa

High School Softball

Mustangs still looking for first CIF playoff win in program history after suffering wild-card loss.

May 18, 2011|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

COSTA MESA — When the class of 2011 first stepped on the softball field at Costa Mesa High, the Mustangs were in a playoff rut.

At the time they hadn't made the playoffs since 2003. But on the same softball field Wednesday stood four seniors — pitcher Tamy Cerrato, shortstop Alex Krohnfeldt, second baseman Sami Feinstein and outfielder Nikki Lether — who had grown up in the program.

Cerrato, Krohnfeldt, Feinstein and Lether all started in that freshman year of 2008. Wednesday marked the third straight year they helped the Mustangs make the playoffs.

They again fell short, however, of making history.

The Mustangs have not won a CIF playoff game in program history. Mesa was one and done yet again after suffering a 15-7 loss to Immaculate Heart of Los Angeles in Tuesday's CIF Southern Section Division V wild-card game. But the strong senior class — also including catcher Alosina Skipps, third baseman Itzel Flores, Sara Torrenueva, Marie Valenzuela and Andrea Valle — could hold its collective head high.

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Second-year Coach Nichole Maddox noted how her team had rebounded from a 2-13 start to claim the third playoff spot out of the Orange Coast League. She can thank that senior class for much of that resolve.

"It kind of hasn't sunk in yet," Krohnfeldt said after her standout prep career drew to a close. "I'm sure tomorrow when we don't come to softball, it'll be like, 'What are we supposed to do now?' … I was nervous [before league started]. I thought senior year was just going down the drain, but we really came together as a team and started to bond more. There's nine seniors and we've been together for at least three years, but during the middle of preseason we became more of a team, more close-knit than we had been."

The Mustangs (8-17) fell behind early in the wild-card game. The visiting Pandas (14-10) took a 10-1 lead after scoring seven runs in the second inning. The highlight was a towering three-run home run to left by sophomore pitcher Jessica Osnaya.

The Mustangs did rally. They scored three runs in the bottom of the third, the big hit being Skipps' triple to right that scored Feinstein and Krohnfeldt. That narrowed the deficit to 10-5.

But Osnaya, who Immaculate Heart Coach Claire Rietmann-Grout said was hurt for much of the year, wasn't done. She again clobbered the first pitch she saw in the top of the sixth, connecting for her fifth home run of the season — a two-run shot — to left-center.

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