Hits For All In Softball's SCC-Opening Rout Over ELAC, 11-3

Bree Howard is the team's slugging first baseman. She has three home runs, including this drive v. Santa Barbara on Sunday, photo by Richard Quinton.
Bree Howard is the team's slugging first baseman. She has three home runs, including this drive v. Santa Barbara on Sunday, photo by Richard Quinton.

While teams will have big offensive explosions, rarely does one occur where every starting player collects a hit. But that's exactly what the Lancers starting nine accomplished Tuesday. PCC rolled to an 11-3, 5-inning, South Coast Conference North Division-opening win over East Los Angeles at Robinson Park. 

PCC improved to 9-6 under head coach Monica Tantlinger, who was a former assistant coach at ELAC (2013 season) prior to taking the Lancers top job in 2014. 

First baseman Bree Howard led the Lancers' 13-hit attack by going 2-for-3 with four RBI. After PCC fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first, Howard roped a double to score shortstop Karina Moreno that cut it to 2-1. In the second, PCC scored five runs, including a bases-loaded walk drawn by Howard. In the fifth, it was Howard who ended the game with a 2-run line single to center for the necessary 8-run mercy rule lead.

Moreno had a big game by scoring four runs (2-for-4, reached base twice on errors as well). Third baseman Brittany Ching batted 2-for-3, launching a double off the base of the left field fence in the third inning. Rightfielder Jamie Hammon was 2-for-4, including a RBI single in the second. Second baseman Alex Howard delivered a 2-RBI single in that rally while leftfielder Jazmine Cabrera tripled in a run in the third. 

Catcher Jeneve Medrano singled in a run in the second and centerfielder Angel Urbina started that big frame with a base hit. In the fourth inning, designated player Brittany Gonzales became the ninth starter with a hit on a single to left field.

"That's a cool stat," Tantlinger said. "Even when you score a lot of runs, usually there are one or two players that might not hit safely. To have contributions from all nine starters in our conference opener no less, that's a great sign. We are generating much more offense after a slow start to the season. We need to keep it going with less conference games this season than in past years."

Pica Madrid earned her fifth win in relief as she hurled 2.1 innings of 1-hit shutout ball. 

On Sunday at Robinson Park, the Lancers beat the rain and visiting non-conference opponent Santa Barbara City College, 11-4, in a game called after six innings when the wet weather stopped the contest. PCC fell behind 4-0 on a first-inning grand slam by SBCC's Madison McNamee. 

In the bottom of the first, the Lancers roared back with five runs as Ching capped the rally on a 2-RBI single. In the second, PCC added four more runs, two on Bree Howard's third home run of the season over the center-field fence. Howard, Cabrera, Hammon, and Gonzales (a double) each collected two hits. Alex Howard (no relation to Bree) added a triple while Urbina was 1-for-2 with three runs scored, two walks and a stolent base.

Madrid (5-2 record) also did the job in relief in that win as she allowed just one hit in four shutout innings, striking out three. 

On Mar. 2, PCC couldn't hold on to a 3-0 lead as host El Camino College rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh for a 4-3 victory in the SCC crossover (does not count toward conference standings, only overall record). The Lancers had scored all of its runs in the sixth, including a 2-RBI double by Cabrera. After six shutout innings against a tough Warriors' lineup, starter Angel Wintercorn settled for the loss (6.1 IP, 8 hits, 5 strikeouts).

Bree Howard has settled in as the team's most productive hitter of late with a .455 average and 11 RBI (six of her 10 hits are for extra bases). Her slugging percentage is a staggering 1.045. Cabrera's .458 batting average leads the team. Neither player was in PCC's 2017-opening day starting lineup, a testament to the depth of this year's squad.

The Lancers play two more home games this week, hosting Rio Hondo in a SCC game on Thursday, Mar. 9 and then facing Victor Valley on Friday, Mar. 10. Both contests have 2:30 p.m. first pitches.