The women’s softball team finished the Round Robin tournament this weekend with the record of 2-2 after beating the Citrus and Santa Ana College at Citrus and losing to Sacramento City and Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.
Head coach Monica Tantlinger and the team have been physically and mentally preparing for the challenges presented in the first major tournament of the year. Tantlinger has been emphasizing new hitting and defensive strategies that have had the Lancers firing on all cylinders.
“This weekend we had four really worthy competitors,” Tantlinger said. “I’m excited about where they are mentally but I think we are gonna be challenged.”
The Lancers were scheduled to play back-to-back games against Citrus in the afternoon and Santa Ana to cap the night.
Pasadena shut out the host team, Citrus, 6-0, to start the tournament.
Alyssa Madrid, a freshman out of Coronado High School, pitched seven innings and allowed one hit to fluster the Citrus Owls for the complete game shut-out. She retired 21 of the 23 batters faced and was able to locate 50 of her 69 pitches in the strike zone.
Neither team was able to stir the pot on offense until the Pasadena batters took up the plate in the top of the fourth inning.
Catcher Holly Riker-Sloan reminded us of her knack for power hitting by lifting a 2-run home run over the center field fence.
“We have a mentality on our team that our coach is emphasizing and that’s to attack your pitch,” Riker-Sloan said. “I saw it and I tagged it, that’s it.”
The home run was her first of the season and her team-leading seventh RBI.
Designated hitter Derek Blow left her mark on the outcome of the game, launching a 3-run home run with two outs in the top of the sixth inning to put the contest out of reach for Citrus.
“I felt confident because we’ve been working on hitting a lot. We’ve been working the new process and I’m confident in that process, so I was ready,” Blow said. “Then finally I get the ball right, and I hit it solid, and it goes over. It was icing on the cake.”
It was the first time this season the Lancers hit two home runs in a game. Pasadena had five multi-home run efforts last year.
Owls sophomore pitcher Autumn Bartholomy pitched the entire game, giving up six earned runs on seven hits. She is still in search of her first win of the season, failing to do so in four consecutive starts.
Pasadena then squeaked past Santa Ana 7-6 in the second game of the double header.
The veteran sophomores Holly Riker-Sloan and Raeleen Fuentes set the tone early, scoring two runs on three hits and an error in the first inning.
“We were pumped and ready to go, especially after that first game. We were planning to execute, do the same thing we did the first game coming into the second game,” said Riker-Sloan. “We were a little bit shaky on defense for the second game, but offensively we came out to play, we came out to hit.”
Pasadena could have added more runs but Santa Ana’s pitcher Hattie Marshall tossed an axe through their plans by getting Brenda Rivas to strike out swinging to escape a bases loaded jam.
Marshall then stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the inning and brought home catcher Madison Graham on a single down the middle to center field.
Tied at two in the top of the third inning, the Lancers regained the lead with bounces going in their favor.
After catching a Derek Blow lineout, Dons shortstop Desiree Hernandez committed an error, allowing Niaya Jones and Karen Najera to steal home for two runs.
The Lancers racked up three more runs in the following inning for a 4-run cushion at the midway point.
The Dons would make their bid for a rally victory, which came a run short.
Hattie Marshall, Allison Benitez, and Kasey Hutton would pick up RBI on outfield singles in the bottom of the fifth and sixth inning.
Alyssa Madrid came in relief of Raeleen Fuentes and ensured the win by striking out Alexandra Hernandez to close the game.
“I’ve been in a lot of positions like that before,” said Madrid, “I knew I had to do my job, I knew I had to pick my team up, they deserved that win. All I could do was try my best and get it for them, and that’s what I did.”
Sophomore first baseman Karen Najera led the way with two runs and two RBI while going 2-for-3 at the plate.
PCC is 4-1 this season when scoring first and have not lost on the first day of a tournament in two years, winning nine straight games.
The following day, PCC traveled to San Luis Obispo for the Cuesta Round Robin Tournament. The team struggled to get hits to translate into runs as they dropped both games to Sacramento City and Cuesta College due to stellar pitching performances.
“Actually the best defense we have had thus far,” said Tantlinger. “We just couldn’t back it up with our bats.”
Sacramento City’s southpaw pitcher Gabby Ortiz pitched a gem as she allowed just one run on two hits in seven innings en route to a 3-1 win. She improves to 4-0 and boasts a 0.56 ERA, good for 9th overall.
The Lancers then were unable to solve Cuesta Cougars pitcher Demi Danell, who got through her fourth complete game and second shutout of the season while striking out 13 batters.
“Overall I think the level of competition was a step in the right direction,” said Tantlinger, “I am excited to see how we perform in the conference.”
PCC will host East LA at Robinson Park on Tuesday Feb. 16 for the SCC opener.