Softball Sweeps Fullerton College In Opening Series Of The Postseason

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Mt. SAC Softball made quick work of the visiting Fullerton College Hornets in the first round of the postseason with a 6-3 win on Friday, May 4 in game one, while taking game two 7-4 on Saturday, May 5.

After flying past Long Beach in a single elimination play-in game, the Hornets earned the right to face the South Coast Conference Champion Mounties in a best-of-three game series.

Mt. SAC started off strong in game one with SCC Pitcher of the Year recipient Briana Wheeler on the mound on the eve of her birthday, earning a strikeout and keeping Fullerton off the scoreboard in the first.

In the bottom of the inning, Mt. SAC’s batters went to work, starting with Ciara Granado getting a base hit to left field, which sent Caitlyn Felina home for the opening run.

The inning continued with Michelle Banales being walked, setting up the Mounties with runners on first and second base. Michelle Santiago singled and loaded the bases, which Vicky Gutierrez capitalize on with a three-run double to put Mt. SAC up 4-0 and finish Natasha Trujillo‘s night on the mound early for the Hornets.

Shelby Boehmer came in for Trujillo to put a stop to Mt. SAC’s momentum in the first inning. However, Wheeler continued her outstanding performance, starting the second inning striking out three more batters, for a total of four strikeouts after two innings.

Mt. SAC Softball’s Adriana Ramirez at second base as Fullerton pitcher Shelby Boehmer sets up on the mound on Saturday, May 5. Photo Credit: Mychal Corbin @shotstotheheart

In the top of the third, Fullerton fought back with Veronica Garza singling to centerfield and Kaylee Williamson grounding out sending Garza to third. Elexa Rangel followed with a single of her own, setting up the Hornets with runners on first and third base.

Eryka Springer then hit a stunning three-run homer to slice into Mt. SAC’s lead and bring the visitors within one.

Wheeler remained unfazed and picked things up in the fourth, getting three more strikeouts by the end of the inning, while the Mounties added to their lead with Carissa Felix scoring off a single from Granado.

After a scoreless fifth inning, Wheeler tallied her 10th strikeout of the game, holding off the Hornets and positioning the Mounties to add to the 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.

Jackie Olvera did just that with a base hit to centerfield, which sent Sasha Allen home to score.

From there, Wheeler capped off a dominant performance with her 12th strikeout of the game as the Mounties closed out game one, winning 6-3.

“We came out and attacked, especially our first game back in a week and having that mindset of bringing out our all. It’s that toughness,” Wheeler said after the game.

Heading into game two, the Mounties brought that very toughness back, staying calm after the Hornets picked up the early lead in the top of the first.

Mt. SAC responded with a single off Santiago that scored Granado in the bottom of the inning.

Later in the second, Olvera was hit by a pitch with bases loaded, which brought Gutierrez home for a 2-1 lead. Adriana Ramirez then scored off a sacrifice fly from Granado, and Banales singled to left field, bringing Felix home.

Gutierrez further showcased Mt. SAC’s attacking power, smashing a solo home run in the third inning to give the Mounties a 5-1 lead.

Facing elimination, the Hornets attempted a rally in the top of the sixth, with Kindy Favata singling out to score Baylee Giordano. Sabrina Anguiano then smashed a two-run homer to put the score at 5-4.

However, the Mounties seized the opportunity to extend the lead in the bottom of the inning when Ramirez scored on an error by the Hornets and Granado singled to left field to bring Felix home.

The Mounties then shut Fullerton down in the seventh, securing the 7-4 win and completing the sweep of the Hornets in the first round of playoffs.

“We’re going to do whatever we can to win. It’s a brand new season and every team is going to come in and be fired up,” Mounties head coach and SCC Coach of the Year recipient Rubilena Rojas said reflecting on the series.

“We’re just playing one pitch at a time. That is our mentality,” Rojas said.

Mt. SAC improved to 35-7 overall and advanced to the next round, where they will host 28-14 College of the Canyons fresh off their own sweep of Cerritos College.

Game one is set for Friday, May 11 at 7 p.m. while game two will take place on Saturday, May 12 at 3 p.m.