Bats Blazing For Softball

Second baseman Danielle Ruiz is one of many Lancers excelling at the plate this week, photo by Richard Quinton.
Second baseman Danielle Ruiz is one of many Lancers excelling at the plate this week, photo by Richard Quinton.

The Pasadena City College softball team has had consistent pitching thus far in the 2019 season, and now the Lancers offense is catching up in a hurry. PCC pounded Long Beach City College, 10-0, on Thursday in its second straight, mercy-rule win in five innings at Robinson Park.

Ranked tied for No. 8 in Southern California by the coaches association, the Lancers upped their record to 10-6 and 7-3 in South Coast Conference play. It was Pasadena's fourth conference mercy-rule (at least 8-run lead after 4-1/2 innings) victory at its home diamond, a tough place for opponents as PCC is now 6-1 at its off-campus home.

The Lancers didn't just beat any team as Long Beach (6-4 in SCC) is one of just three South Region teams with 12 or more wins. The unranked Vikings (12-6), who started the season with a 9-game win streak, suffered their worst loss of 2019 while Pasadena got a little payback after losing at LBCC, 5-3, on Feb. 8.

PCC scored three runs in the first, four in the second and three more in the third. Leading the runs show was sophomore shortstop Kaylee Medrano, who lined a 2-RBI triple in the second, then put a medium drive to right that turned around the Vikings' rightfielder, who had the ball tip off her glove while trying to make a difficult catch. The ball rolled to the fence and Medrano circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run. She finished 2-for-2 with four RBI. 

Rightfielder Olivia Nanez was 2-for-3 with three RBI while third baseman Samantha Diaz batted 2-for-2, including a lead-off bomb double to left in the first. 

The offense, which has produced 19 runs on 21 hits in just eight innings of work this week, was more than enough for Lancers lefty ace Vivian Little, who fired a 4-hit shutout and continued her outstanding freshman campaign at 6-1. She was also aided by gold glove defense by centerfielder Gabi Perez, who saved the shutout with a perfect one-hop throw to gun out a LBCC runner at the plate to close the third inning. Perez then made a spectacular running catch in far right-center in the fifth when she also recorded all three putouts for Little. Diaz speared a liner for a 5-3 double play that ended the second inning. 

"The offense was explosive today," said PCC head coach Monica Tantlinger. "It was fun to watch our team compete with a purpose. We've been making in-bat adjustments and reaping the benefits. Medrano has stepped up and (Nathalia) Velasquez is heating up, both making things happen with a potent Diaz from our leadoff spot. Little threw well and we made some great plays behind her."

Velasquez was 1-for-2 with a RBI and two runs scored and leads the team in RBI with 12. Both Medrano (.300) and Velasquez (.302) raised their batting averages to give the Lancers five starters with .300 or better marks. Nanez leads the team at .444 while Diaz upper her mark to .409. Catcher Jennie Chacon is at .370 as she was 1-for-1 with two stolen bases and two runs scored. 

PCC is in second place in the SCC North Division, sitting behind defending state champion and the state's current No. 1 team in Mt. San Antonio College (13-1, 7-0).

The Lancers pitching staff (Little, Britney Lopez and Austyn Helmuth) has thrown back-to-back shutouts and lowered the team ERA to 2.07, currently 16th in the state.

On Saturday, Mar. 9, the Lancers play two non-conference games at the other region's No. 8 Orange Coast College (11-1), facing the host Pirates at 10 a.m. and then San Diego Mesa (11-5) at 1:30 p.m.