Scotts Valley High pitcher Sofia Seese recorded 11 strikeouts for the Falcons softball team in a 3-1 win over Aptos High in Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League play April 9. (Paul Firenzi/Press Banner file image)

In a race for control of first place in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League softball standings, it came down to Tuesday’s battle between two of the best hurlers the league has to offer. 

On the home side, it was Scotts Valley High’s Sofie Seese and representing the visitor’s dugout was Aptos High’s Milenna Carbajal. 

In the end, it was Seese’s masterful 11-strikeout performance that helped the Falcons walk away triumphant following a 3-1 win over the Mariners on April 9. 

With the win, the Falcons remain undefeated at 4-0 in league play, while the Mariners dropped to 3-1. 

Both standout pitchers entered Tuesday’s game undefeated in SCCAL action for a matchup that lived up to the expectations. 

Seese and Carbajal, who had 10 strikeouts, were dealing and working perfectly through the first three innings.

Aptos got the first hit of the game with a one out single by Kailani Aguayo in the top of the fourth inning. In the same inning, Aptos would take a lead that did not last too long with a two-out RBI single by Raegan Fulton to score Aguayo from second base.

That was all Aptos’ offense was able to muster against Seese, who tamed the Mariners batters and only surrendered four hits.

“Sofie [Seese] is definitely our ace. She has command of all her pitches right now. Definitely the reason we are in the position we are in,” Scotts Valley coach Jeremy Wilson said. 

Seese—a Georgia State University commit—struck out six Mariners batters on her off-speed pitch, which was working tremendously and kept the Aptos offense off balanced. 

“Seese pitched an amazing game against us, she has a great change up and did a great job working up and down with ball movement” Aptos coach Phil Rojas said. 

Scotts Valley also had troubles of its own at the plate, producing just two hits as a team against Carbajal. Wilson said he knew it was going to be a battle with Carbajal in the circle for Aptos. 

“Our plan coming into the game was to play solid defense behind our pitcher and try to be short on the ball on offense,” Wilson said. “I figured if we would need to score three to four runs to put ourselves in a good position to win.”

In the bottom of the fourth frame, Taylor Wilson got the Falcons in the hit column with a single to left field. Chloe Kent got on base with two outs from an error by Aptos’ defense, allowing Wilson and Nick Powell to score, and take a 2-1 lead.  

Wilson added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning after scoring on a passed ball. The Falcons never looked back. 

Despite the loss, Carbajal delivered a gem performance for the Mariners, surrendering just two hits in six innings of work.

“[Carbajal] kept our hitter off balance with a good curve outside, great pitcher. Gave us a really hard time,” Jeremy Wilson said.

Rojas praised Carbajal—an Arlington Baptist University commit—for her performance in Tuesday’s game.

“Mileena pitched one of her best games in high school, she really did a good job today using her screwball and change up,” Rojas said.

Rojas said his team knew they could have played better and needed to learn from the loss. 

“We wanted to keep it close and knew we couldn’t make mistakes. Just got to learn from this one.” Rojas said

The Mariners will have two more shots at redemption against Scotts Valley with both games at Aptos. The first one is scheduled for April 25 at 4:30pm, followed by a second meeting on April 27 at noon. 

Rojas said they have to be better prepared the next time both teams battle, but for now they have to focus on Thursday’s game at San Lorenzo Valley High. First pitch is set for 4:30pm. 

Wilson said he’s happy with the win, yet there’s plenty to work on if the Falcons want a shot at winning the SCCAL crown. He mentioned Seese is keeping them in close games, but they also need to get some reliable hitters going.

“This was a big win for us, that’s a great team we beat and I’m sure they want a rematch as soon as possible,” he said. “This win puts us in a good position moving forward in league, but it’s still early.”

Scotts Valley plays at Harbor High in SCCAL action on Thursday at 4:30pm. 

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