As big games go, Tuesday's 8-3 win at East Los Angeles College may have been the most important thus far for the Pasadena City College softball team. The victory snapped a 2-game losing streak and vaulted the Lancers into a second-place tie with Chaffey in the South Coast Conference North Division.
PCC (19-12 overall) is 5-3 in the division, led by Mt. San Antonio only a game ahead in first place at 6-2. PCC is No. 15 in SoCal in RPI, but have now won twice over ELAC, a team rated No. 14 and hoping to catch the Lancers in the conference standings. The SCC is doing quite well in the RPI ratings with Mt. SAC at No. 1, El Camino at No. 5, Chaffey at No. 9, and Cerritos at No. 11. The win over the Huskies (16-14, 3-4 in the division) helped erase the disappointment of losing to under-.500 Grossmont, 7-4, at home on Friday, and then a 1-0 setback at No. 17 Fullerton on Saturday.
Against ELAC, the Lancers jumped out to a 4-0, first-inning lead. They were helped by two errors and used clutch, 2-out hits by centerfielder Angel Urbina (one RBI), catcher Jeneve Medrano (2 RBI), and second baseman Alex Howard, bunt single for one RBI. The Huskies trimmed the advantage to 4-3 going into the sixth inning. Again with two outs, PCC's bats took over. Pinch hitter Jazmine Cabrera hit a hard single past the shortstop with Urbina scoring as the home umpire called obstruction on the East LA catcher for blocking home plate. After designated player Briana Hernandez lined a single to center, third baseman Angelica Lopez rocketed a 2-run double to left center. Leftfielder Nathalia Velasquez knocked in another run with a line drive that snuck inside the right field line.
Pitcher Jordan Lousararian (4-3 record) was the beneficiary of the PCC offense as she delivered five innings, limiting ELAC to six hits, and one earned run. Angel Wintercorn hurled two perfect innings of relief, striking out three batters. Lopez and Urbina each collected three hits and Hernandez two in the team's 13-hit attack.
Wintercorn (8-5) was the hard-luck losing pitcher in the loss at Fullerton. She went all six innings, allowing just four hits. A single in the third inning by Hornets' third baseman Erika Rangel knocked in the game's only run. Three Fullerton pitchers limited PCC's bats to just four hits.
In the April 6 loss to Grossmont (7-23-1 going into the game), the Lancers perhaps had their low point of the season. Griffins shortstop Sydney Vates homered to open the game and started a 5-run first inning for her team. The hole was too much for Pasadena. Medrano hit a 2-run single in the first. Urbina and Velasquez each had two hits while first baseman Amanda Flores was 2-for-2 with two walks. Britney Lopez threw six innings of relief, giving up eight hits, two runs, and recording five strikeouts.
On April 5 at Robinson Park, Lopez came within one out of a 4-hit shutout, but LA Harbor's Cynthia Ruiz launched a game-tying, 2-RBI double to left center to keep the SCC crossover contest going. In the bottom of the seventh, Velasquez ripped a lead-off triple and was pinch ran for by Amber Ingram. Flores then gave PCC a 3-2, walk-off victory on a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Ingram. Velasquez was 2-for-4 and added a RBI double in the first inning. Lopez (7-4) finished with a 5-hit complete game in the circle.
On April 3, host Mt. San Antonio handed the Lancers a 5-1 defeat. The Mounties were ignited by home runs from Ciera Granado and Vicky Gutierrez while pitcher Briana Wheeler shut down PCC on a 4-hitter while striking out 10 Lancers. Angelica Lopez batted 2-for-3.
Velasquez, a freshman from Birmingham Charter High, continues to be the Lancers leading hitter. She is batting .448 with 12 doubles, two triples, two homers, and 27 RBI. Lopez, a sophomore transfer, is hitting .411 with a team-high three home runs and 19 RBI. Hernandez, a freshman lefty hitter, is hitting .381, leading PCC in on-base percentage (.485), tied for the runs scored lead with 23, tied for tops in walks with 17, and she's added 16 stolen bases. Howard leads the Lancers in stolen bases with 23 and the team's current 93 swipes is third in the state. Pasadena head coach Monica Tantlinger is two wins shy of reaching the 100-win mark in her career, only in her fifth season.
On Thursday, April 12, PCC visits Rio Hondo in a SCC North game at 3 p.m. PCC hosts a 3-game tourney on Friday, April 13. At 10:30 a.m., the Lancers face Citrus, followed by Citrus v. San Diego City at 1 p.m. and then PCC takes on SDCC at 3:30 p.m. Prior to the third game, the Lancers will have a brief ceremony celebrating the team's sophomore group.