Danny Heng/Courier - Lancers pitcher Raeleen Fuentes ends the second inning with a fastball at Jackie Robinson Park on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 against Antelope Valley in their first home game of the season.

The women’s softball team kicked off their 2016 campaign with a thrilling 5-4 win over Antelope Valley on Wednesday.

Pasadena is now 4-1 in the past five season openers with the victory.

“It was important to start off with a win because that will set the tone for the rest of the season,” said Cynthia McKeehan.

Today’s game was a classic pitchers duel.

Sophomore Raeleen Fuentes took the mound for the Lancers while the Marauders countered with left-handed pitcher Tawnee Hegre.

Fuentes pitched six solid innings and picked up 4 strikeouts. She also retired the first 8 batters she faced before surrendering her first hit of the game to Erica Serfoss on a bloop single to centerfield in the top of the third inning.

Neither team was able to develop a threatening attack and test the defense until PCC did so in bottom of the fourth inning.

Kelly Bernal laced a lead-off single down the right field line. Then Holly Riker-Sloan reached first base on a routine fly ball that was dropped by right fielder Destinee Medrano. Riker Sloan was then replaced by Brenda Rivas to pinch run.

With two on and no outs, Derek Blow hit a line drive to second baseman Dolly Stevens who then flipped the ball to first base to complete the double play. Fuentes was then retired in the next play when she grounded out.

With the foot still on the gas, PCC pulled through in the fifth. McKeehan drew a walk to start the inning and Jahaira Badillo reached first base on a fielder’s choice. Karen Najera grounded out but it advanced the runners to second and third base, which then brought up Karina Moreno up to the plate.

With one out, Moreno hit an RBI single to shortstop to bring in McKeehan home for the 1-0 lead.

Later in the inning, during an Anais Sustayta at-bat, Moreno stole second base prompting a throw from catcher Jennifer Littlejohn to her second baseman.

The second baseman then overthrew to third base, resulting in an error which the Lancers took advantage of as Badillo stole home. Moreno then collected a run on a wild pitch by pitcher Hegre to make it 3-0 in favor of the home team.

Acosta put the Marauders on the board in the sixth inning by driving in Stevens.

The Lancers responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth coming off the bats of Moreno and McKeehan.

“We did what we needed to do when we needed to do it,” said head coach Monica Tantlinger. “Our energy helped us win.”

Down by 5-1 and in need of some runs to mount a comeback in the top of the seventh inning, Antelope Valley took advantage of Alyssa Madrid who was entered in relief of Fuentes.

Littlejohn and Stevens hit back-to-back RBI singles to cut the deficit to two.

With the bases loaded and one out, Madrid issued a walk to Acosta to bring the Marauders within one run.

After walking the second batter of the inning, Madrid slammed the door shut and struck out Toni Hutnick on a full count while Priscilla Panizo grounded out to the shortstop to capture the team’s first win of the season.

“It’s not the first time I’ve been in a situation like that and it will not be the last,” said Madrid. “You just have to push through it.”
PCC will battle Moorpark on Friday to improve upon their perfect season.

Click here to see more photos from the game in our gallery section.

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