The Pasadena City College softball team closed out the 2016 season at .500 with a 20-20 overall record but the machine-like, on-base streak of shortstop Karina Moreno still has Lancers fans wanting more. The freshman reached base her final eight times at bat, including a 3-for-3 hitting game in a 6-1, season-ending loss against Cerritos Tuesday at Robinson Park.
Moreno, from Glendale's Hoover High, is a left-handed slap leadoff hitter who put on a clinic over the team's final 19 games. She hit safely in 18 of those contests as she batted 34-for-57 for a .596 batting average and she reached base 50 times in her last 73 plate appearances or a .685 on-base percentage. She scored 20 runs, stole 10 bases and walked 16 times.
In the month of April, Moreno was 17-for-28 (.607 average) and reached base via hit or walk 26 times in 37 plate appearances (.703 on-base). She closed the season on a 9-game hitting streak and had five hits and three walks in her last eight trips to the plate.
Moreno finished the year leading PCC in batting average with a .441 mark, the highest by a Lancer since Sarah Sherman set a school record with a .470 average in 2004. Moreno's overall .551 on-base percentage is the highest since PCC Hall of Famer Chris Zboril reached a .555 mark 22 years ago. Zboril also was a shortstop. Since 1985, only one other Lancer drew as many walks as Moreno, 27--Brittany Skoien in 2012. Moreno led the team in runs scored with 36 and tied second baseman Anais Sustayta for the PCC lead in stolen bases with 18.
"I've never seen anything like it," said PCC head coach Monica Tantlinger. "Karina hit the ball wherever she wanted to, lining balls to left, slapping balls into right, placing hits through the left side. And if a pitcher fell behind in the count, she would take the walk. I couldn't even possibly ask anymore out of a leadoff hitter. She was the perfect batter to top our lineup."
The Lancers tied East Los Angeles for fifth place in the South Coast Conference with a 9-12 record. It was the second straight season that Pasadena reached the 20-win mark overall.
Sophomore rightfielder-first baseman Derek Blow ended up leading PCC in home runs with five and RBI with 34. Blow hit .327 overall. Letterman catcher Holly Riker-Sloan didn't match her monster freshman season but finished batting .309 with a team-high eight doubles and 25 RBI.
Freshman pitcher Alyssa Madrid threw three perfect innings of relief v. Cerritos as she closed her first collegiate season with a 10-13 record, 135.2 innings of work, four saves, nine complete games, 55 strikeouts and a 3.71 ERA. Sophomore Alissa Barcena threw 2.1 shutout innings of relief against Cerritos.
In Monday's 9-7 loss to visiting Santa Ana, Riker-Sloan batted 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI.
"We played hard for most of the season and just ran into some tough opponents at the end of the year," Tantlinger said. "Our plan is to come back, reload with some fresh talent to go with some of our strong returners from this team. We have to find that right chemistry between pitching, fielding and hitting. Last year, we were a high-powered offensive team. This year, I felt we had better pitching, but we didn't play as well defensively. We had our ups and downs on offense. I'm already anticipating the 2017 season."
[Photo--Lancer Karina Moreno was a potent on-base talent for PCC this season, image by Richard Quinton.]