Softball Working Toward Playoff Spot

Hot-hitting Jazmine Cabrera leads the Lancers in batting thus far this year, photo by Richard Quinton.
Hot-hitting Jazmine Cabrera leads the Lancers in batting thus far this year, photo by Richard Quinton.

The Pasadena City College softball team moved to No. 10 in the all-important RPI ratings and can seriously talk about postseason plans after rallying for a 5-4 win against rival East Los Angeles Tuesday at Robinson Park. The Lancers are 22-10-1 overall and now 7-2 in the South Coast Conference North Division, well ahead in second place in the league.

The 22 victories are a new high for PCC head coach Monica Tantlinger, who has directed now three straight 20-win seasons. But Pasadena has not made the playoffs in 11 years, something that all factors point toward finally occurring for the fourth-year Lancers leader this season. Only conference champions receive automatics with Mt. San Antonio a frontrunner to win the SCC North, but PCC's high RPI should help it gain an at-large bid.

Against ELAC, sophomore shortstop Karina Moreno, 2-for-2 with a walk in her first three at bats, was hit by a pitch to leadoff the bottom of the sixth. Moreno stole second, then outfielder Alise Archuleta singled up the middle to score Moreno for the game-winning RBI. The Huskies had led by a 3-2 count going into the bottom of the fifth inning.

Reliever Pica Madrid, who gave up a run-scoring hit in the sixth, got out of a first-and-third jam to end that inning tied at 4-4. In the seventh, the sophomore pitcher then stranded the potential tying run on second with a strikeout that capped her 10th win of the season. Madrid is the first PCC pitcher since Sarah Sherman (2004-05) to reach double figures in wins in consecutive seasons.

Overall, the Lancers collected 13 hits and PCC's record when reaching double digits in hits is 16-1. Catcher Jeneve Medrano was 1-for-2 with two RBI while third baseman Brittany Ching (a double), first baseman Bree Howard (a double), leftfielder Jazmine Cabrera, and centerfielder Angel Urbina all joined Moreno in the 2-hit club.

On April 7, Long Beach City College hurler Alissa Cienfuegos 3-hit the visiting Lancers and struck out 11 in a 3-1 win over PCC. Designated player Brittany Gonzales hit a solo home run in the fourth while Archuleta was 2-for-3 for all of PCC's offense. 

On April 6, PCC had an easy time over winless host LA Harbor, 16-2, in a game called after five innings. The Lancers scored nine runs in the fourth inning, including a 3-run triple by second baseman Alex Howard and a RBI triple from Moreno. Cabrera was 2-for-2 with a triple and three RBI while outfielder Julissa Moran, usually a key pinchrunner, took advantage of her hitting opportunity by going 3-for-3 at the plate. Infielder Destiny Rojas added a double. Lauren Jackson pitched three no-hit innings with three Ks for her fifth win in the circle.

On April 4 at Robinson Park, state No. 4-ranked Mt. San Antonio blanked the Lancers, 8-0, in a full, 7-inning contest. The Mounties scored five runs in the first inning and Tiffany Kennedy-Cummings limited PCC to just two hits while striking out nine in a complete-game shutout. 

"We ran into some very good pitching, but we also rebounded well after both of those losses," Tantlinger said. "I've been concerned about our bats, but I think against ELAC we hit the ball with some authority and made good contact throughout the lineup. It's a good sign. We have to just continue to be consistent. Our pitching has been pretty solid. The defense could be better as we've made some recent errors on routine plays, but that's an area that also has been consistently strong for us. We have to keep our momentum and carry the excitement of this win into our next few conference games."

Cabrera is on a hot streak in which she is 17-for-33 (.515) with five walks and six stolen bases in her last 11 games. Her .442 batting average and .488 on-base percentage lead the team.

On Thursday, April 13, the Lancers host Rio Hondo in a SCC North game. First pitch is 2:30 p.m. at Robinson Park.