SANTA CRUZ — People say that it’s not the best team that wins it all in the end, but it’s the hottest team. Right now the Mariners are hotter than the sun.
Junior starting pitcher Michelle Firebaugh threw a shutout and allowed only four hits, as the Mariners scored four late runs and held on to a 4-0 win to advance to the second round of the Santa Cruz Coastal Athletic League Tournament.
“We’re working really hard,” said Firebaugh, “we try and play like we practice, and it means a lot to be moving on.”
Firebaugh finished the day with seven strikeouts. It was her eighth shutout of the season according to Maxpreps.com.
“I thought my performance was strong,” said Firebaugh. “I can’t do it without my team, my coaches calling a good game and my defense behind me.”
That strong defense has led them to a 21-6 overall record, a 9-3 record in the SCCAL and the third seed in the playoffs.
It now has them set for a date with the Scotts Valley Falcons on Wednesday at Harbor High at 4:30 p.m. The Mariners are winless against the Falcons this season, losing 6-2 the first time around on Mar. 14 and 7-3 on April 16.
“I’m ready,” said Firebaugh, “I’m sure my team is ready. We’re just ready to come out and give it our best shot, and we’ll see what happens. It’ll be sweet if we beat them.”
Marissa Bugayong and Rita McCreesh both had two hits and an RBI for the Mariners. Casey Messersmith had a game-high two RBIs.
If the Mariners win on Wednesday they will play in the final for a share of the SCCAL title with the Soquel Knights who the Mariners beat earlier in the season.
“It crosses our mind from time-to-time,” said Firebaughof making it to the final and CCS, “but we just have to take it one game at a time.”
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