Los Angeles Preps: Melissa Taukeiaho

ORANGE — The El Modena softball team entered the seventh inning with a seven-run lead Wednesday afternoon against second-seeded Etiwanda, but as the Southern Section playoffs have shown so far, there’s no such thing as an easy victory.

Etiwanda peppered El Modena starter Haylie Wagner with line drive after line drive in the final inning of the Division 1 second-round game and eventually loaded the bases with the tying run, Taylor Thomas, on first. Jenna Isbel then lined a pitch into the left-center field gap, but the Vanguards executed a perfect relay and shortstop Alyson Kulp threw out Thomas at the plate to preserve the 12-11 victory at El Modena High.

“They’re a tough team,” Wagner said. “We knew they were going to come out and hit the ball.”

El Modena will travel to Valencia for Thursday’s quarterfinals.

The matchup between El Modena and the Eagles was expected to be a low-scoring game featuring the Michigan-bound Wagner (20-6) against Etiwanda pitcher Melissa Taukeiaho, who has signed with Washington.

But it was the hitters who came alive as the game wore on.

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