KINGSBURG - Behind a complete game from Mia Estrada and 14 hits from Kingsburg’s lineup, the Vikings defeated it’s rival Selma 7-1 at home on Thursday.
It was the final regular season game for both teams and it was a matchup with several playoff implications involved.
The Bears were trying to lock up a top-two seed in the Central Section Division III playoffs while the Vikings had it’s sights set on earning the top seed in Division II.
Kingsburg still had a legitimate chance of winning a co-Central Sequoia League championship prior to the game.
“This is a rivalry game, so it’s always going to be tough,” Vikings head coach Randy Sieger said. “They came out and they hit the ball really well tonight.”
Kingsburg (21-5-1, 9-3 CSL) ended the 2019 regular season in a second place tie with Hanford West (18-9, 9-3) in the CSL standings. Dinuba (22-6, 10-2 CSL) clinched the outright league title after defeating Exeter 5-0 on Friday.
As for the playoffs, the Vikings earned the top seed in Division II and received a first round bye. Selma (16-9, 6-6 CSL) went into the Division III playoffs as the No. 3 seed and played No. 14 Nipomo (12-8, 7-3 Ocean League) in the first round on Tuesday (after press time).
“I think we’ll come together and we’ll follow through with our goal [of winning a Valley championship],” Bears outfielder Dom Trevino said. “I think we’ll stay solid throughout the playoffs.”
Selma’s only score against Kingsburg came in the first inning. The run came on a sacrifice fly from Chrissy Wallace, who knocked in Trevino on the play. Trevino reached base after hitting a lead-off triple.
The Bears would have trouble scoring runs and making contact with the ball for the rest of the game. On a day where Estrada didn’t strike anyone out, 15 of Selma’s 21 outs were either pop ups or fly balls.
“We have to swing at better pitches, better counts,” Bears head coach Chris Tapia said. “We swung at a lot of off speed stuff ahead of the count or on the first pitch. I think better pitch selection, hitting our pitch, we’ll fix that.”
In her ninth complete game this season, Estrada allowed six hits and one walk during seven innings of work.
“She’s so stonefaced in the circle,” Sieger said about Estrada. “You just never know what’s going on with her, but she’s solid as a rock and just kept fighting. She walked a batter and just came right back and got the other ones out. She pitched a fabulous game and she hit her spots really well.”
Not only did Estrada go the distance, the freshman was one of two Vikings - the other being Marissa Gonzalez - to drive in multiple runs. Estrada recorded her first RBI of the night in the second inning on a single that gave Kingsburg a 2-1 lead. Estrada knocked in Alves, who hit an RBI double earlier in the inning.
The Vikings scored twice in the fourth inning and added two more runs in the fifth. Kingsburg scored it’s final run in the sixth inning.
Gonzalez was responsible for the Vikings runs in the fourth inning on a two-out two-run double. Shelby Reed and Marissa Montelongo scored on the play.
In the fifth inning, Brianna Vela scored from third on an error and Estrada drove in her second RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly. Estrada knocked in Alves for a second time on the play. Estrada finished her night at the plate going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Gonzalez capped off her night and the victory with a solo home run - her ninth of the season - in the sixth inning. Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
“Everyone is starting to hit,” Gonzalez said. “No one is hitting for themselves anymore. Everyone is working together. Whoever goes up to bat, it’s to move the other person over. Our team...we are selfless. We do it for everyone else on the team. Everyone is finally coming together top to bottom.”
Overall, Kingsburg out hit Selma 14-6 and five of the Vikings’ hits went for extra bases.
Kingsburg will begin it’s playoff run on Thursday at home at 4 p.m. Kingsburg will either host No. 8 Sanger or No. 9 Monache in the Division II quarterfinals.
If the Bears are victorious on Tuesday, Selma will either host No. 6 Lemoore or No. 11 Santa Maria in the Division III quarterfinals on Thursday.