Lancers softball isn’t off to a great start. The recent shutout against Santa Barbara College on Saturday puts them on a three game losing streak as they fell 11-1 in a shortened five inning game due to the eight-run mercy rule.

Kristen Luna/Courier - On her way to bat, catcher Holly Riker-Sloan high-fives outfielder Brenda Rivas after Rivas scored the Lancers first and only score of the game. The loss was the third in a row with the game ending with an 11-1 score.
Kristen Luna/Courier –
On her way to bat, catcher Holly Riker-Sloan high-fives outfielder Brenda Rivas after Rivas scored the Lancers first and only score of the game. The loss was the third in a row with the game ending with an 11-1 score.

It didn’t take long for Santa Barbara to score as their third baseman Christal Vierra hit a double, loading the bases and bringing in 2 runs in a 5-run first inning.

Santa Barbara’s defense was dominant. They made it hard for PCC to respond as the Lancers only managed to get one player on base, with sophomore catcher Holly Riker-Sloan delivering a hit past short stop in the first inning.

Riker-Sloan was 1-3 in the game and couldn’t find her rhythm in the upset loss.

“We just didn’t execute, our coach always tells us we have to have timely hitting,” Riker-Sloan said. “We didn’t have the hitting.”

Alongside Riker-Sloan was sophomore first baseman Derek Blow, who went 1-2, and freshman right fielder Brenda Rivas with who hit a double. Santa Barbara had 12 hits total.

Although Lancers changed pitchers a few times, they did what they needed to do. It was the lack of defense that put them in a hole. The small fielding errors being produced made it easier for the Vaqueros to get on base and score.

“I feel like we weren’t all here mentally and didn’t put in 100 percent,” sophomore pitcher Raeleen Fuentes said.

While the team is executing during practice, they’re not putting that same effort during game time. They’re able to get hits on the ground, back up their pitcher and play as a team. So it isn’t necessarily the fundamentals of the game but the breakdown in their mental game.

“We’re not necessarily buying into what we need to do, so what we have some meetings with a sports psychologist and we’re meeting every Wednesday,” head coach Monica Tantlinger said. “I think that building that process and getting them to trust what we’ve instilled is going to help immensely.”

It isn’t over for the Lancers and Tantlinger is making sure the team is aware of that. Going into their next game she’s going to use the same strategy, which is to challenge their defense.

PCC softball hosts LA Mission on Tuesday Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Park. Then they travel to Citrus College for the “Citrus Round-Robin” tournament on Friday Feb. 12 to face Citrus at 2:30 p.m., Santa Ana at 4:45 p.m. and travel to Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo on Saturday Feb. 13 to face Sacramento City at 1 p.m. and Cuesta at 3 p.m.

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