It will come a day later than expected, but Palomar College softball Coach Mark Eldridge is looking forward to a third meeting against Rancho Santiago.
"We've got a big day ahead of us tomorrow (today)," he said. "We're one win away from the state finals and we have another chance at Santa Ana."
Eldridge's team got the opportunity to play Rancho Santiago today after holding on for a 3-2 victory over Cerritos Saturday night in the Southern California regional tournament at Golden West College.
Linda Salseth, who pitched Palomar to a 9-3 victory over Taft in the opening round, will oppose Rancho Santiago's ace, Kim Martin, in today's 10 o'clock game. Martin got her 15th shutout of the season in defeating Chaffey, 2-0, after Lorraine Kalehuawehe pitched the Dons to a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles Pierce in the opener.
Rancho Santiago, which has defeated Palomar twice, 5-3, 2-0, didn't play well offensively Saturday. Sacrifice flies by Julie Hertado and Christy Alvarez, the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup, were the keys in the win against Pierce. A pair of errors allowed Tina Engel and Sandy Martinez to score the Dons' two runs against Chaffey.
It was enough, however, for Martin, a sophomore right-hander, to get her 21st victory of the season.
Today's game was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday but was delayed when Cerritos needed 17 innings and 4 1/2 hours to beat Pasadena, 3-2, in the opening round.
With the top two teams in the regional tournament advancing to the state championships, today's winner earns an automatic bid. The loser will have to fight its way through the loser's bracket for another shot.
Martin, for one, wasn't happy about the change in plans.
"I wanted to play tonight," she said Saturday. "I prefer night games over day games. I have a hard time waking up in the morning."
Pasadena still is alive after losing to Cerritos. The Lancers came back to beat Taft, 7-3, in 12 innings and held on for a 3-1 victory over Chaffey.