Rebuild Begins For PCC Softball Program

Adriana Valdez with hit here in the PCC softball team's season opener on Saturday (photo by Richard Quinton).
Adriana Valdez with hit here in the PCC softball team's season opener on Saturday (photo by Richard Quinton).

A new coach and a nearly brand new roster takes fold in 2024 for the Pasadena City College softball program. PCC first-year head coach Audrianna Gutierrez knows that wins may be harder to come by after she served last year as an associate head coach for a PCC team that won 24 games and nearly upset eventual state champion Cypress in a courageous SoCal Playoff series.

"It was great to be a part of that squad and assist head coach Monica Tantlinger," Gutierrez said. "But that team was full of experienced sophomores, some who had started college ball even before the pandemic. They made up most of the starters and pitching staff. I'm starting a new chapter for the program, but we are definitely younger this year and will have to go through the normal growing pains associated with inexperience."

Gutierrez's Lancers opened the season on Saturday, losing to two strong programs in LA Mission, 9-1, and against Palomar, 6-0, in a pair of games that were part of a tri-tourney that changed location three times due to field conditions. Originally, the tourney was to be played at Palomar College, then it was moved to PCC's home diamond--off-campus Robinson Park--and it eventually settled at LA Valley College's outstanding, artificial turf field facility.

"I thought we played Palomar really tough after LA Mission hit us hard in that opener," Gutierrez said. "We had pretty good infield defense in both games, and our outfield D was better in the second game. It didn't show in the box score, but some of our hitters put the barrell on some balls hit right at fielders. Those were encouraging signs. It was good to get these games in before the rain expected next week."

In the opener, freshman Breanna Negrete (Schurr High) looked sharp defensively at shortstop while batting 2-for-3 with two line-drive doubles. Frosh third baseman Alyssa Hernandez (South El Monte HS) was 1-for-2 with a double and stolen base and first-year pinch hitter Adriana Valdez (Alhambra) lined a single and scored PCC's only run on the day in the fifth inning. 

In the opener, Victoria Little, who played at PCC all the way back in 2019 as a freshman pitcher, hit one of two homers slugged by LA Mission and had three RBI. 

In the second game, PCC's defense had some big plays including a diving stop and throw out by freshman third baseman Alexis Garcia (Arroyo High), a diving catch by returning sophomore Natalie Shahin in left field, and a nifty double play turned in by Hernandez, playing shortstop as she caught a short pop up and fired to sophomore transfer first baseman Monica Gutierrez to complete the play. 

Leiana Rodriguez, a sophomore transfer from Rio Hondo College, pitched a complete-game, seven innings and stranded 11 Palomar runners on base in a gutsy effort. 

Palomar's two pitchers limited the Lancers to just two singles as Hernandez was 1-for-1 and walked twice while Rodriguez batted 1-for-3 (lined out). The lefty-hitting Valdez lined out twice as the second baseman. 

PCC returns starting catcher Alyssa Guzman (11 RBI, .224 batting average, and .342 on-base percentage) and reserves in Shahin and pitcher Ivy Avalos from last year's squad.

With Rio Hondo not fielding a team in 2024, PCC picked up Rodriguez, an All-South Coast Conference Second Team shortstop last season who hit .368 with 31 RBI, and Gutierrez. 

Other freshmen include outfielder-catcher Elizabeth Avalos (Garfield High), first baseman Alysa Rojas (Smidt Tech), and catcher Lucero Alcaraz (Monrovia HS).

"We have a number of players who can play multiple positions and that gives up some flexibility," Gutierrez said. "The goal is to improve game by game and find some chemistry as the teammates learn to jel with each other."


PCC 2024 SOFTBALL SCHEDULE (subject to constant changes due to weather conditions)