SoCal Playoffs: Softball Grabs #12 Seed To Play At #5 Santiago Canyon

Lancer Nathalia Velasquez slides into third in a recent game, photo by Richard Quinton.
Lancer Nathalia Velasquez slides into third in a recent game, photo by Richard Quinton.

For the second straight season, the Pasadena City College softball team is headed to the Southern California Regional Playoffs. The 25-15 Lancers finished in second place in the South Coast Conference North Division and earned the original #13 seed but were moved to #12 to avoid same conference first-round matchups. PCC will play a best-of-3-game series at No. 5 Santiago Canyon College this Friday-Saturday, May 4-5.

The Hawks (30-10) earned a high seed despite finishing third in the powerful Orange Empire Conference. The Lancers are one of six South Coast colleges to make it to the postseason. You have to go back to 2010 for the last meeting between Pasaadena and Santiago Canyon, a 5-0 win by the Hawks. The colleges met only one other time on the softball diamond in 2007 when the Lancers won 4-0. 

In last year's playoffs, PCC was swept by Palomar in two close 1-run games, including a 10-inning marathon. This year's matchup between PCC and Santiago Canyon is one that could be decided by speed on the basepaths. The Hawks were No. 2 in the state in stolen bases with 141 while PCC wasn't far behind at No. 4 in California with 114. 

Pasadena is led by the hitting quartet of leftfielder-designated player Nathalia Velasquez (team-high .434 batting average, 12 doubles, two homers, 30 RBI), second baseman-leftfielder Briana Hernandez (.393, 20 RBI, 17 SBs), third baseman Angelica Lopez (.376, three HRs, 29 RBI), and first baseman Amanda Flores (.316, 25 RBI, including four game-winning walk-off at bats). Shortstop-second baseman Alex Howard leads the team in stolen bases with 28 and rightfielder Leilani Montanez has 20 swipes. PCC's pitching has been a 3-player rotation with Angel Wintercorn (11-6 record, 2.38 ERA, 108 strikeouts), Britney Lopez (8-5, 3.17 ERA) and Jordan Lousararian (6-4, 4.75 ERA) all making contributions in the circle this season. PCC is directed by head coach Monica Tantlinger. 

For Santiago Canyon, leftfielder Rylie Seip (.475, 10 homers, 39 RBI, 27 SBs), centerfielder Amber Elliott (.403, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 30 steals), and rightfielder Taylor Whitney (.385, region stolen base leader with 36) make it tough on pitchers at the top of the Hawks lineup. Catcher McKenna Boyle (.341) is the team's best run producer with 42 RBI. Santiago Canyon has two key pitchers in Danielle Stallings (13-5, 2.85 ERA) and Nicole Yniguez (11-5, 3.61 ERA). The Hawks are led by head coach Lisa Camarco, who coached Santiago Canyon to the CCCAA state championship in 2016.

On Friday, May 4, the Lancers open the playoff series at 2 p.m. at the Hawks diamond at their City of Orange-located campus.