When rightfielder Nathalia Velasquez made an errant throw over the head of first baseman Amanda Flores in the second inning Tuesday, it marked just the first error by the Pasadena City College softball team in three games. But the Lancers have been soaring lately, and sure enough Velasquez immediately made up for her miscue, robbing a hit from Rio Hondo's Taylor Alcala by gunning her out at first on a dart to Flores that ended the inning.
The redemption defensive play preserved a 1-hit shutout by PCC pitcher Britney Lopez while Velasquez led the offense with three hits in an 8-0, 5-inning mercy victory over the Roadrunners. Velasquez, who leads the team with a .450 batting average, capped a 6-run, fifth-inning with a game-ending, hard-hit single off the glove of the Rio Hondo second baseman that plated two runs.
The Lancers (14-9, 3-2 in South Coast Conference North Division play) extended their winning streak to a season-best six games. PCC had started the year with a 5-game win string and even overcame a 6-game losing streak in February. However, since Feb. 20, PCC is 9-3 and raised its RPI rating in Southern California to No. 13 overall.
Against Rio Hondo, shortstop Kaylee Medrano batted 1-for-2 and drove in three RBI while her sister and catcher Jeneve Medrano was 2-for-3. Briana Hernandez, playing second base over her usual left field, and third baseman Alex Howard, normally the team's second baseman, each stole two bases as the Lancers totaled eight swipes overall. Lopez improved to 5-4 in the circle, allowing just the one single in the second inning, walking one and striking out three. It was the fifth shutout this year by the Lancers pitching staff.
"We've just been playing good softball," said PCC head coach Monica Tantlinger. "We made a few changes in defensive positions and it has made us stronger on the field. Our hitters have stepped up and every one of them wants to be the kid to drive in runs. It's exciting to watch their confidence grow. Thursday will be a test for us, and we look forward to the challenge."
Tantlinger moved Angelica Lopez from second base to third base, Howard from shortstop to her gold-glove second base spot of last year and Kaylee Medrano, from third base to shortstop. On Thursday, PCC faces an equally hot team in Chaffey, on a 7-game win streak and boasting a 17-9 overall record. The SCC North game has a 3 p.m. start at Chaffey.
On Friday, Mar. 30 at Robinson Park, the Lancers host a non-conference doubleheader, facing Glendale at 10:30 a.m. and Golden West at 12:30 p.m.