Sophomore ace Angel Wintercorn used pinpoint control and received a trio of big plays made behind her by the Lancers defense in the sixth inning to complete a 4-hitter as the Pasadena City College softball team blanked Antelope Valley, 3-0, Friday in the 2018 season opener at Robinson Park.
Wintercorn struck out seven, walked no one, and hit just one batter in finishing a 7-inning gem. She retired the first nine batters she faced. With a 1-hitter and just a 1-0 lead after five innings, Wintercorn encountered trouble in the sixth.
Catcher Jeneve Medrano made a diving catch in foul territory on a short popup for the second out, but AVC responded with two hits. The second, a liner to right field, was cut off on a fine defensive play by rightfielder Leilani Montanez as the freshman prevented an extra-base hit that would have scored the lead runner. The next batter, Marauders cleanup hitter Ashley Fiorelli belted a drive that looked like it was going to hit the fence. Instead, PCC centerfielder Nathalia Velasquez in full gallop robbed Fiorelli with a spectacular diving catch into the left-center field auxillary fence. The grab prevented AVC from taking the lead as PCC got out of the inning without giving up a run.
All three runs scored by Pasadena were unearned following Marauders' mistakes. In the fifth, PCC took a 1-0 lead as Medrano hit a bloop single in front of the AVC shortstop who then made a late throw that skipped past the first baseman. Medrano reached second on the throwing error, then stole third. Second baseman Audrey Sebastian knocked in Medrano with a RBI tapper to third. In the bottom of the sixth, Velasquez singled to the pitcher and third baseman Kaylee Medrano, Jeneve's younger sister, walked. A passed ball placed the runners at second and third, followed by a sacrifice fly by Amanda Flores for a 2-0 lead. An error at third on a ball hit by Briana Hernandez allowed Medrano to score another insurance run.
Wintercorn allowed runners on first and second in the seventh, but got the final two outs to the delight of the PCC home crowd as she preserved her shutout. Taylor Roberts allowed only four hits to the Lancers and was the hard-luck losing pitcher, allowing no earned runs.
"Angel pitched a whale of a game against a really good Antelope Valley team," said PCC head coach Monica Tantlinger. "We played so great behind her in that sixth inning. I don't know how Velasquez reached the ball in center, a phenomenal catch. It was like everything we did turned out great, and everything went wrong for AVC. For a first game, I'm real pleased with how we created our runs. We did well in all phases of the game."
The Lancers will next visit Saddleback College on Monday, Jan. 29 for a 5 p.m. non-conference game.