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Red-hot Vikings score another playoff upset, edge Egg Harbor Township 3-2 to advance

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By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – A few weeks ago, Atlantic City softball head coach Jason Grimes told his team, then mired in a 3-10 start, there were two ways this season could go: The Vikings could pack it in and start thinking about the prom and summer vacation, or they could keep fighting and start playing up to the potential he knew they possessed. They chose the latter. The 16th-seeded Vikings ripped off their ninth straight victory on Tuesday, edging No. 9 Egg Harbor Township 3-2 to advance to the semifinals of the South Jersey Group 4 tournament. Atlantic City improved to 12-10 with the win and will face either No. 5 Toms River North or No. 13 Cherry Hill West in the sectional semifinals. “This is crazy. We haven’t even won a playoff game before, so it’s pretty awesome,” said junior catcher Olivia Dellston. Center fielder Sierra Jordan scored the first run during the Vikings' 3-run rally in the top of the first that proved to be all the runs Atlantic City would need. Center fielder Sierra Jordan scored the first run during the Vikings’ 3-run rally in the top of the first that proved to be all the runs Atlantic City would need. The story was Taggart, however, and her ability to get ahead and paint the outside part of the strike zone. The senior left-hander wasn’t fully healthy last year after having offseason hip surgery, and this year a twisted ankle in the middle of the season limited her. She’s back near full strength now and the result has been an impressive winning streak. “I was hurt, but once I came back, I guess my teammates knew I wasn’t feeling my best and they were behind me. Now that I’m feeling better we are just rolling with it. I just tried to use my defense a lot,” Taggart said. “We knew that 16 (seed) didn’t really speak for us. We lost a lot of close games and we knew we were better than that, so we had confidence coming in (to the playoffs). “She’s awesome. It’s great to catch her. I’m going to miss her next year, a lot,” Dellston said of her battery mate. “She’s really good at hitting her spots. It’s not that she has overpowering speed but she can move it around a lot and it throws hitters off.” Grimes said the realization that the Vikings’ next loss would basically end her high school career is what has fueled Taggart here at the end of the season. “Last year she had a major (hip) injury and her softball career was in jeopardy and it’s almost like getting a second shot at life,” Grimes said. “She’s out here feeling good, feeling healthy. She wants to pitch every second of the day because she doesn’t want it to come to an end. She’s trying to get all she can out of this run. She’s throwing strikes and having confidence in her defense. She’s pitching at a high level right now.” Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays

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