Off to its best start in South Coast Conference play since 2004*, the Pasadena City College softball team stands at a perfect 4-0 in league play. PCC picked up wins this week v. Long Beach and state #12-ranked El Camino.
The unranked Lancers (10-6 overall) had a 5-game win streak snapped on Thursday in an 8-3, non-conference loss at San Bernardino Valley. But that letdown doesn't take away from the team's recent spirited play.
"I'm excited about our team's focus and desire to win," said PCC head coach Monica Tantlinger. "We play 3-game series v. all the South Coast teams so it's lots of games left, but winning a game 1 is always huge. We are still not playing our best softball so we hope to get stronger each game. We can be a force in the SCC this season."
Clutch late-inning heroices were performed by the Lancers in order to win the games v ECC and LBCC.
On Wednesday, Pasadena beat El Camino for the first time in five years, 5-3, ending a 6-game drought v. the Warriors. Run-scoring singles by shortstop Danielle Ruiz in the third inning and rightfielder Breanna Rodriguez in the fourth gave PCC a 2-0 advantage. After the Warriors scored three runs in the fourth to go ahead, 3-2, the Lancers answered with three runs of their own in the fifth. A RBI squeeze bunt by catcher Alyssa Guzman was the key play in that rally.
In the bottom of the seventh and runners on first and second, Rodriguez fought the sun to make a dramatic diving catch on a low-sinking liner by ECC's Viviana Tamayo for the game's final out.
Kiley Kraft pitched the first four innings, allowing six hits and no earned runs to improve her pitching record to 7-2. Austyn Helmuth earned the save with three solid innings of 2-hit, shutout relief. Ruiz batted 2-for-3 with two stolen bases. First baseman Marcella Ordonez was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.
On Tuesday, the Lancers beat host Long Beach, 6-3, in eight innings. The Lancers trailed 3-1 and were down to their final out when third baseman Jaimie Harris belted a 2-run triple to send the game into extra innings. In the eighth, second baseman Gabi Perez, winning pitcher in relief Kraft, and Rodriguez all delivered RBI hits. Kraft earned the win by pitching three innings of 1-hit ball with four strikeouts. Helmuth pitched well as the starter, allowing only two hits in her five innings of work.
Rodriguez, Ruiz and Perez each collected two hits.
In the SBVC defeat, leftfielder Olivia Nanez ripped a 2-run single to tie it 3-3 in the third, but the Wolverines pulled away on a grand slam by Hannah Guilfoos in the fourth. Guilfoos was a one-woman wrecking crew on Lancers pitching, going 4-for-4 with six RBI. For PCC, rightfielder Arlyne Ruiz was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk.
Overall after 16 games, Rodriguez leads the team with a .457 batting average while Harris tops the squad in home runs (five), doubles (five, tied with Perez), and RBI (18), batting .345. In the four SCC wins, Danielle Ruiz has been the team's best hitter at .545 (6-for-11) with four steals.
Kraft is tied for eighth in the state in wins (seven) and her 1.27 ERA is fourth among all state pitchers with 50 or more innings pitched. She is 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA in South Coast contests.
A home rainout today (Mar. 10) v. Mt. San Antonio has been rescheduled as a road game on Saturday, April 15 while the squads are changing locations for their Friday, Mar. 31 matchup, now at Robinson Park with a 1 p.m. first pitch. PCC is back in action (weather permitting) on Tuesday, Mar. 14 in a 2:30 p.m. home game v. LA Harbor.
*--release has been updated after recent research