Softball's Helmuth Spins One Over Chaffey

Freshman pitcher Austyn Helmuth fires a pitch during the Lancers 3-1 win over Chaffey Wednesday, photo by Richard Quinton.
Freshman pitcher Austyn Helmuth fires a pitch during the Lancers 3-1 win over Chaffey Wednesday, photo by Richard Quinton.

Austyn Helmuth scattered six hits and allowed one unearned run in pitching the Pasadena City College softball team over Chaffey, 3-1, Wednesday at Robinson Park. The Lancers are now two wins ahead in the win column over the Panthers for second place in the South Coast Conference North Division.

PCC is 16-9 overall and 10-5 in conference play. Chaffey dropped to 15-11 and 8-5. 

Helmuth used her change of speeds, alternating from a batter-freezing change-up with spot fastballs around the plate, to pick up her sixth win (6-5 overall) and finishing her team-best seventh complete game. She was helped by some solid defense, including the Lancers infield turning a pair of double plays. 

With Chaffey threatening in the second inning after loading the bases on two hits and a walk, Helmuth got Lisette Rosales to ground into a 5-2-3 double play (third baseman Samantha Diaz fired home to catcher Jennie Chacon, whose ensuing throw to first baseman Valley Febles finished off the twin killing). Still with runners on second and third, Helmuth worked her way out of the jam when Michaela Shaughnessy lined out to shortstop Kaylee Medrano.

In the third, Chaffey appeared to have runners on first and second after a strikeout-passed ball and a Lancers error, but Medrano picked off the lead runner who went off the bag as second baseman Danielle Ruiz applied the tag. Tyani Lowe then hit into an around-the-horn double play from Diaz to Ruiz to Febles that ended the frame.

In the fourth, PCC leftfielder Nathalia Velasquez made a sliding catch to rob a hit from Tatyana Carvajal. 

Velasquez highlighted the team's offensive attack as she batted 2-for-3, including a line drive double to deep right for a RBI in the fifth inning. Alise Allen (1-for-2) later drew a bases-loaded walk to give PCC a 3-0 lead. The Lancers other run came in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Chacon, scoring Ruiz. Medrano continued her current ability to reach base nearly every at bat as she reached twice via a hit-by-pitch and drew a walk. She had a 0-0-0-0 batting line because she put down a sacrifice bunt in her other plate appearance.

Chaffey's Alyssa Diaz drove in her team's only run on a RBI fielder's choice in the sixth inning. Helmuth stranded two more Panthers runners with another fielder's choice grounder to Diaz that ended the inning. While PCC's defense did a good job, so did Diaz, who was a vacuum cleaner at shortstop for Chaffey. Diaz twice in the second inning took hits away from Lancers, one alertly backing up a shot off the third baseman's glove by Ruiz and throwing out Ruiz on the play. Then she made a diving stop and throw to gun out Chacon for the third out. She finished with six assists and two putouts.

In the seventh, Helmuth closed out the win despite Chaffey having runners on first and second with only one out. She got Denise Baires to foul out to Medrano down the left field line and recorded the final out with a fielder's choice grounder to Medrano.

The Lancers host Ventura College in a non-conference game on Friday, Mar. 29 in a 2:30 p.m. first pitch.