Softball, Little Shuts Down Cerritos, 6-1

Vivian Little is 3-0 in the pitching circle for the PCC softball team.
Vivian Little is 3-0 in the pitching circle for the PCC softball team.

Vivian Little pitched five no-hit innings while Olivia Nanez continued her hot hitting as the Pasadena City College softball team downed Cerritos, 6-1, Tuesday in a South Coast Conference game at Robinson Park. The contest was originally scheduled to be played on the road, but Cerritos' field was unplayable.

PCC evened its overall record to 3-3 and upped its SCC mark to 2-1. Cerritos dropped to 2-4 and 0-2. 

A freshman southpaw, Little is 3-0 in the young season and has allowed only six hits in 14.1 innings with a 1.95 ERA. Little walked two batters in the first, one that came around on a sacrifice fly by the Falcons' Kayla Hernandez for a 1-0 Cerritos lead. From that point on Little, from Polytechnic High, struggled a bit with wildness (five walks, one hit batter) but was able to limit the Falcons by totaling nine fly ball outs, including a 7-4 double play by leftfielder Nanez (batted 2-for-3) who threw a strike to second baseman Shynia Torrez in the third inning. In the fifth, Little erased a leadoff walk on a 5-4-3 double play turned by third baseman Samantha Diaz to Torres to first baseman Valley Febles.

Austyn Helmuth relieved Little to start the sixth. With two outs, Victoria Medina broke up the no-hitter with a clean single to left field. Helmuth used an impressive changeup to foil Cerritos as she finished with two innings of 2-hit, shutout ball. 

The Lancers hitting came alive in a 3-run, first inning as Nanez ripped a RBI single to center, Nathalia Velasquez boomed a RBI double to center, and Torrez hit a sacrifice fly. In the second frame, PCC increased the lead to 5-1 with a RBI base hit by Samantha Diaz and a fielding error that scored Diaz (2-for-3, two runs, two stolen bases). Centerfielder Gabi Perez was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and a stolen base.

Nanez, a freshman from Arroyo High, is 7-for-11 this year for a team-high .636 average. Velasquez, a sophomore catcher-outfielder, is picking up where she left last season as an All-SCC Second Team selection is batting .429 with three doubles, a triple and a team-best six RBI. 

"This was a great team win and a much needed bounce back," said PCC head coach Monica Tantingler. "Little is thrwoing well and challenged a good hitting team today. Nanez has been a needed spark in a sluggish lineup that is starting to wake up a bit. Her approach and consistency at the plate is just what we need right now. She didn't even start the first few games, and it's so fun as a coach to when kids take advantage of their opportunities."

For Cerritos, relief pitcher Ally Udell hurled five innings, allowed only three hits and one earned run. PCC was the opposite of Cerritos' hitters as Udell got all 15 of her outs on infield grounders and bunts. 

On Feb. 8, PCC let a 2-0 first inning lead slip away in a 5-3 conference loss at Long Beach City College. Velasquez hit a double and had a sac fly and Nanez knocked in a run on a single in the first. 

Rain permitting, the Lancers will next play on Thursday, Feb. 14 when they host El Camino College. First pitch is 2:30 p.m. at Robinson Park.