DANA POINT – The Riverside Poly softball team outlasted Dana Hills, 6-4, Tuesday in the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs.
Riverside Poly (28-6) will play in its first championship game since 2004 when it takes on Camarillo on Friday or Saturday at Bill Barber Park in Irvine.
“It’s such a great feeling for this group of girls,” Bears coach Robert Sakaguchi said. “They are dong absolutely everything we could have expected or wanted from them.”
The loss snapped a 12-game winning streak for Dana Hills (19-13), which won the Sea View League championship this season.
“This is the best group we’ve had since I’ve been coaching here,” Dana Hills coach Brandon Cosenza said. “They battled until the end and done everything we’ve asked. It’s been a successful and fun season.”
The Dolphins were shut out by Riverside Poly pitcher Paige Peterson until fifth inning. They trailed, 6-0, but scored three runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to cut the lead to two.
Cozette Zoch started the rally with a triple in the fifth inning. Cameron Cecil drove her in for the Dolphin’s first run of the game. Tori Sickmeier and Jessie Nagel drove in the other two runs in the frame.
Carlee Russo singled in the sixth and was driven in by Cecil to cut the Poly lead to two.
“I have to admit, I got a little comfortable with the lead,” Peterson said. “But after I saw them scoring, it got into my head and I picked it up.”
Peterson has been the most reliable pitcher for the Bears all season. The senior allowed only one run the past two playoff games.
“It was a gutsy performance,” Sakaguchi said. “She knew that her team needed her and we weren’t going to go to anyone else. She stepped up and took that challenge.”
Riverside Poly struck first in the third inning with a four-run rally. The Bears hit four consecutive singles, which included run-scoring hits by Niki Calderon and Kayla Trayor. Later in the inning, Jacquelin Loya drove in a run on a…