King/Drew softball team celebrates after junior Jordan Garcia hit a homerun (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The King/Drew Golden Eagles softball team defeated the Mendez Jaguars 8-6 in the first round of the CIF Division II City Section playoffs. King/Drew will play the second-seeded Marquez Gladiators on May 13 at 3:00P.M.

Golden Eagles pitcher Jordan Garcia and Jaguars pitcher Emmely Contreras were never subbed out in the matchup. Garcia noted how being a pitcher since she was 11 helped her endurance skills.

“Pitching two hours now is easier, but It takes a lot of not even physical strength but mental strength,” Garcia said. “Those times when your team is going down and you feel the energy dropping, you still have to be the one to be like “it’s fine,””

The Golden Eagles came out strong early with Garcia and freshman Kaiya Downs hitting a homerun each in the bottom of the first inning.

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“That was my first homerun over the fence ever,” Downs said. “It was really exciting.”

The Jaguars earned their first hit during the second inning when senior Raylynn Salas hit a triple and ran home on a wild pitch during the following at bat. Senior Elsy Muñoz boosted the score to two.

“I realized that remaining calm and keeping a positive attitude, that really got me through this game,” said King/Drew junior Brooklyn Walker. “It was not beating myself up after every play and being able to realize it’s not over until it’s over.”

King/Drew junior Natalia Martinez hit a sacrifice fly RBI, giving the Golden Eagles a two-point advantage at the end of the second.

King/Drew freshman Arianna Lawrence (6) attempts to run home (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Mendez challenged King/Drew with their fielding abilities, their outfielders made key catches, making it difficult for King/Drew to score. The Golden Eagles found runs by stealing bases.

“Everybody’s trying to pop it up and that’s the fly balls and the catches and said “no, no, no, lets calm down. Let’s reset  and go back to basic softball,”” said Golden Eagles head coach Chay Robinson. “Then they were able to reset.”

The bats of the Jaguars warmed up in the seventh inning. An RBI from both Yvette De Los Santos and Salas cut their deficit to two despite having two outs. Garcia struck out Muñoz to secure the victory for the Golden Eagles.

“I think they took every chance they had on the field when our slappers went up, they were close, they were ready,” Downs said. “I feel like that’s gonna inspire us to tighten up our own defense … I hope it inspires us to bat more.”