Alex Morgan stood on deck ready to bat for the second time in the inning, and watched teammate Nathalia Vasquez bloop a 2-run single up the middle for an 8-0 Lancer lead.
Rather than stepping into the box to continue the inning, Morgan gathered with her team on the field to celebrate their win thanks to the mercy rule.
PCC’s slaughter of Rio Hondo on Tuesday felt familiar as the team did the same thing on February 22, winning 11-0. This second win brought the Lancers’ win streak to six, and Rio Hondo’s losing streak to six.
The Lancers had a chance to break the game open even more in the bottom of the first when they were able to load the bases with no outs. PCC tacked on one run when Amanda Flores drew a walk. The next three batters were unable to capitalize on the opportunity as they popped out, hit into a fielder’s choice, and struckout respectively.
“I think when the pitcher gives you those opportunities, sometimes our hitter think that this will be an easy game, and they take their foot off the gas,” Head Coach Monica Tantlinger said. “We should have at least scored two or three, if not more.”
Starting pitcher Britney Lopez looked sharp during her five innings of work, only giving up one walk and one hit. The only trouble Lopez ran into was when she gave up the only hit, right fielder, Nathalia Velasquez made a throwing error, allowing the runner to advance to second. This immediately prompted Coach Tantlinger to have a team meeting on the mound.
“I was not very happy with them,” Tantlinger said. “They weren’t necessarily engaged in what was happening. I felt like we needed to be more engaged mentally, and physically on the attack.”
Velasquez recalled what had happened on her misplay.
“At first I thought it was a foul ball,” Velasquez said. “Once I realized it was in play, I thought I could just throw it, and the cutoff would be there. Once I saw she wasn’t there I realized I shouldn’t have thrown it in yet.”
After a bunt single moved the runner over to third with two outs, Velasquez was able to redeem herself, relaying a sharply hit ball to first to end the inning and save the shutout.
“It definitely felt good to redeem myself like that,” Velasquez said with a chuckle. “I knew that ball was getting passed the infield, and I thought ‘I got her right here’ and I was able to throw her out.”
From then on it was smooth sailing for the Lancers defensively. Lopez went the full five innings without allowing any more runners.
“It was actually a slow start for me,” Lopez said. “I felt like I had to work my way back to my usual self. But once I found my groove, I was able to pitch well.”
When the fifth inning rolled around, PCC was hanging on to a two run lead. Alex Morgan, who led the team in steals coming into the game with 15, added two more to her total when she robbed second and third base. Morgan also showcased her speed when she was able to score after being caught in a pickle.
The Lancer offense finally awoke from their mid-afternoon nap and scored five more runs in the inning, kicking the mercy rule in effect, ending the game early.
Now the Lancer’s attention turn towards this weekend’s tournament after playing Chaffey on Thursday at 3pm
With the conference record now at 3-2, this weekend could significantly impact the Lancers playoff chances.
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