Chaffey Sends Softball Out of 1st Place

Lancer sophomore Alex Howard slides into third base in a recent game, photo by Richard Quinton.
Lancer sophomore Alex Howard slides into third base in a recent game, photo by Richard Quinton.

It may have been only a few days, but the Pasadena City College softball team felt good about its 2-0 start to the South Coast Conference North Division schedule. The Lancers were a half-game ahead of two teams in first place before visiting Chaffey knocked them off the perch with a 13-hit attack in a 7-2 PCC loss Tuesday afternoon.

The Lancers (7-7 overall) only quoth for Chaffey shortstop Rayven Spencer was "Nevermore" after she put on a skills exhibition in batting 4-for-5, including a first-inning home run over the centerfield fence, a double to right-center, and three runs scored. She also made two dazzling diving plays on defense. The Panthers (10-6) are the current new leader in the SCC North at 2-0 after beating PCC for the first time since 2013. Pasadena had won the last five meetings (all under current Coach Monica Tantlinger), including a sweep of the three games the colleges played last season. 

Chaffey outhit PCC, 13-5, but the Lancers were still in it at 2-2 in the top of the fifth. With runners on first and second, Lancers rightfielder Briana Hernandez tried to make a diving catch on a liner hit by Chaffey pitcher Morgan Finley to short right. The result was a 2-RBI double as the ball skipped past the diving freshman. The Panthers added a sacrifice fly and took a 5-2 lead. 

Pasadena did have some opportunites, including leaving the bases loaded after tying it with a run in the second inning and stranding two on in the fifth. Otherwise, Finley shut down the PCC bats in a complete-game victory. One brightspot for PCC was reliever Jordan Lousararian, who threw 1.2 innings of shutout ball. 

On Feb. 23, the Lancers won for the first time this year by mercy rule (5-innings, ahead by eight runs) in routing host Rio Hondo, 11-0. Lousararian pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just three hits for her second win in as many conference games. Hernandez hurled a perfect fifth inning. Shortstop Alex Howard was 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two stolen bases while Hernandez went 3-for-4 with two steals. First baseman Amanda Flores and pinch hitter Amber Ingram each ripped 2-RBI doubles. 

Freshman outfielder Nathalia Velasquez has hit safely in 13 of the team's 14 games and leads PCC in batting with a .489 average, doubles with six, and RBI with 12. Howard has stolen 13 bases and is batting .333 with a team-high 14 runs scored.