Esperanza is the Cinderella story of the CIF Southern Section Division I softball playoffs. The team qualified for the playoffs with an at-large berth. After winning its wild-card playoff game on the road against Roosevelt, Esperanza beat Mater Dei, the top-seeded team in the Division I softball bracket, in the first round.
Esperanza pulled off another stunner in the second round, shutting out El Modena, 3-0, to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinal game against Hart. The game will be at Newhall Park at 3:15 p.m.
Hart is the fourth-seeded team in the playoffs, but will be the lowest seeded team Esperanza has faced since the wild-card round.
Here are some of the key players for Esperanza:
Kristin Scharkey is the team’s senior centerfielder and headed to Northwestern University. She had a RBI double in the win over El Modena.
Trea Steele has been clutch for Esperanza in the playoffs. She also had an RBI double in a two-run fifth inning against El Modena. She drove in three runs and had two hits in her team’s 5-2 win over Mater Dei.
Alexis Borden, Esperanza’s sophomore pitcher, is not only tough in the circle, but she can hit too. She hit a solo home run in the second inning for Esperanza in the game against El Modena.
Hart has only scored two runs in its two playoff games. That’s the bad news. The good news is Hart’s UCLA-bound senior pitcher Destiny Rodino has given up only three hits in those two games.
Jessica Shults and Tracy Chandless have provided the offense. Shults hit a solo home run in her team’s win over Trabuco Hills in the first round. Chandless drove in the game’s only run with an RBI single against Moorpark.
Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division I softball playoff results
Second round games:
Norco 4, El Toro 0
Thousand Oaks 6, Pacifica Oxnard 2
Esperanza 3, El Modena 0
Hart 1, Moorpark 0
Pacifica GG 3, Canyon Anaheim 0
Santiago Corona 5, Los Alamitos 2
Edison 5, Foothill 4
Poly Riverside 4, Valencia 2
Thursday’s quarterfinal games
Norco at Thousand Oaks
Esperanza at Hart
Santiago Corona at Pacifica GG
Edison at Poly Riverside
All games are scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m.