With only six games left in the season, the Lancer’s Women Softball team has won double as many games as they’ve lost. This past week, the team played an eventful series of games, with an initial loss to Mt. San Antonio Community College, followed by a victorious home win against Los Angeles Harbor.
“We are on track to have one of our best seasons yet,” said Head Coach Monica Tantlinger. “We’ve been consistently ranked in the Top 10 for most of the season, so that’s been exciting. We’re usually jostling between that 12 and 15 spot.”
The April 2 game against last year’s state champion team, Mt. SAC, played out at Robinson Park. After a number of strong defense performances by the Lancers, the opposition scored four runs in the sixth and seventh innings, sealing their 7-1 win.
“They’re at the top of our conference, so every time we play them, I’m looking for our kids to play a competitive ballgame,” said Tantlinger. “They’re the type of team that can help prepare us to go deep in playoffs. So we take those games in stride and think about how can we get better.”
The Lancers put in an impressive defensive effort against Mt. SAC and overall, a much more competitive game than last year, according to Tantlinger. This match unveiled much more consistent base runners and many difficult catches.
“We were going neck-to-neck on defense. It was all up to batting and we came up a little short in situations where we had runners on,” said all-star sophomore shortstop Kaylee Medrano. “I just felt like it was a good team win for competition and staying hungry for it.”
One stunning play, in particular, was made by freshman rightfielder Olivia Nanez, who batted 2-for-3 and made the Lancer’s only run of the game, with a double to the left-center gap.
“Watching Kay and watching my other teammates I feel my confidence has grown and I feel like I’ve grown mentally and physically with the game,” said Nanez. “I didn’t hit in the fall and I feel like I’m doing much better now.”
Just two days after the loss to Mt. SAC, however, the Lancers were able to secure a South Coast Conference win at L.A. Harbor. At the top of the seventh inning, the teams were stuck in a 2-2 tie, when Medrano stepped up to achieve a 2-RBI, or run back in, double. Velasquez brought her home with another double, wrapping up the game with a 5-2 victory.
“She’s been consistently coming through for us,” said Tantlinger, referring to Medrano’s powerhouse performances. “I put her in the two spot. She’s not your typical two-hitter; she’s actually got more power.”
Medrano, who heroically broke the tense tie, felt that the game was too close. She’s proud of her defense performance, but hopes for even more quality at-bats. A win like this is just a step toward the Regional Round One.
“It is a little celebration, but then we tell ourselves to bring all that into the next game,” said Medrano. “I feel like I’m ready for play-offs. I know we’re going to play-offs and it’s going to be a good one.”