Late Rallies Help Softball Reach 20 Wins

Gabi Perez has made several outstanding catches, like this one, as the team's centerfielder this season, photo by Richard Quinton.
Gabi Perez has made several outstanding catches, like this one, as the team's centerfielder this season, photo by Richard Quinton.

The Pasadena City College softball team came up with some big late-inning hits to win a pair of games last week as the SoCal No. 10-rated Lancers reached the 20-win mark for the fifth straight season. PCC is 20-11 overall and 11-6 in South Coast Conference play.

For head coach Monica Tantlinger, she collected career victory No. 125 when PCC won the first game of a doubleheader at College of the Canyons, 9-8, in eight innings.

The Lancers led at one point, 6-1, but COC roared back to send it to extra innings at 6-6. In the eighth, PCC plated three runs on five hits, including RBI singles by designated player Alise Allen and second baseman Danielle Ruiz. Pasadena reliever Britney Lopez (7-4) picked up the win, but had to hang on in the bottom of the eighth. The Cougars scored two runs to cut their deficit to just one, but with runners on second and third, Lopez closed out the victory by getting Canyons' Kaitlyn Post to pop up to PCC third baseman Samantha Diaz for the final out.

Overall, hot-hitting shortstop Kaylee Medrano was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI, Allen went 2-for-3 with two ribbies, and first baseman Valley Febles also had two RBI and drew two walks. Centerfielder Gabi Perez batted 2-for-3 with two runs and two stolen bases, catcher Jennie Chacon 2-for-4 with two runs, Diaz 2-for-5 with a double, and Ruiz 2-for-5. In all, the team's 15 hits tied a season high.

Pasadena lost the second game to COC, 13-4, in five innings. Canyons catcher Camryn Webb put on a hitting show v. the Lancers, slugging two home runs and driving in five in the win. In the two games, she was a perfect 6-for-6 with three dingers, a double, one walk, and seven RBI. For the Lancers, catcher Nathalia Velasquez launched her first home run of the season and was 2-for-3 with two RBI. Ruiz went 2-for-3 and Medrano 1-for-2 with a double and a stolen base. 

On April 4 in a South Coast Conference game at Los Angeles Harbor, the Lancers were tied 2-2 going into the seventh inning. Medrano laced a 2-RBI double and Velasquez knocked her in with a double for a 5-2 road win. Lopez pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the circle victory in relief of Vivian Little, who threw well in going five innings, allowing six hits, one earned run, and striking out five. In her usual position in left field, Velasquez was 2-for-4 with two run-scoring doubles and Diaz went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. 

On April 2 at Robinson Park, defending state champion Mt. San Antonio used another strong performance by pitching ace Briana Wheeler (15-1 this year) to defeat the Lancers, 7-1. Wheeler tossed a 5-hitter and struck out seven. Mt. SAC scored two unearned runs off PCC pitcher Austyn Helmuth in the third inning.

Mt. SAC put the game away with two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. The Lancers defense overall had several standout plays, including a shoestring running catch by Perez in the first inning, a difficult catch on a pop up along the third base fence by Diaz in the second, a diving stop and throw out by Ruiz in the fourth, a sparkling glove play on a smash to third that Diaz turned into a fielder's choice in the fourth, and a leaping catch on a liner to third--this time made by Febles in the sixth. 

Rightfielder Olivia Nanez batted 2-for-3 and drove in PCC's only run with a double to the left-center gap to break up a shutout bid by Wheeler in the sixth inning. 

On Saturday, Mar. 30, PCC won a bizarre 9-0, non-conference evening game over Glendale College (played off-campus at the Glendale Sports Complex) that was ended in the third inning due to injury. The Vaqueros had only nine players, but lost their first baseman to an injured hand that caused Glendale to forfeit at that point. Lopez struck out all six batters she faced while Ruiz slugged a 2-run homer to center in a 7-run, PCC second inning. Designated player Lexy Rios was 2-for-2 with a triple, Febles 1-for-2 and two RBI, and Perez 1-for-2 with a RBI triple. 

Due to the rainouts of games earlier this season, PCC will play its final nine games over a 12-day period. The busy stretch starts with a 2:30 p.m. conference home game v. East Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 9.