Huskies Home Opener Upended by Late Marauder Comeback
by Cerwin D Haynes
After 23 months away from playing in front of the home crowd, East LA College softball was eager to take the field and make their 2022 home debut.
They would've been hard-pressed to find a tougher opponent this early in the season: the Antelope Valley College Marauders came into Monterey Park undefeated and dominant, scoring 49 runs in six games against only eight runs against. That said, the Huskies kept the Marauder offense in check for most of the game and were two outs away from an impressive win. Unfortunately, an inopportune fielding mishap by ELAC (3-3) left the door slightly open for AVC (7-0), whom took advantage with clutch hitting to rally for 6-4 win over the Pack.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Huskies first-baseman Chasity Martinez took to the plate with the bases loaded and blasted a 2-run double to deep left. AVC would answer in the 2nd with their own run-scoring double, a two-out rap to left by first-baseman Ariel Nieto to tie the game at three.
In the bottom of the third, ELAC catcher Arianna Cobian stepped to the plate with two-out and runner Lily Stell on second. Cobian sliced a sharp single to left-center that scored Stell, and the Huskies would retake the lead, 3-2. The score would stay that way until the top of the seventh.
Starting pitcher Serena Lopez was looking for the complete game victory as she struck out leadoff batter Nieto. She then gave up a left-field single to left-fielder Hailey Johnson, but ELAC was in position to trade bases for outs if needbe. Unfortunately, the next two plays set the stage for Antelope Valley's comeback:
- Cobian couldn't hang onto one of Lopez's pitches which was down and in on batter Nayely Delgado. The ball scooted away from her and Johnson advanced to second.
- Lopez induced Delgado into a grounder to third, and Johnson was caught far enough away from second to trigger a high-stakes rundown. Two throws back and forth between Prisicilla Hernandez and Eliza Flores tried to pin Johnson; on the third throw - from Hernandez to Flores covering second - Flores dropped the ball and Johnson slide back into second safely. With Delgado reaching first safely, ELAC lost a prime opportunity to erase the lead runner while turning a second out. Jazlyn Sharpe pin-ran for Delgado.
The next batter, third-baseman Savannah Cervantes, ripped a double to left center to score Johnson and tie the game. Following her to the plate was 2B Amy Manzo, who drove a long double a yard inside the left-field foul line which netted two more runs for the visiting Marauders. A Trinity Holman single would add another run and the visitor half of the inning would end with AVC up 6-3.
To the Huskies credit, they tried to begin a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs and a runner on first, Martinez struck again, smacking an RBI double into the left-center gap to score Stell. But Antelope Valley would not be denied: the next batter, Cobian, grounded out to second and ELAC's valiant try to end AVC's win streak fell short.
- As mentioned, Lopez (0-1) was gunning hard for the complete game victory but instead settled on a final pitching line of six runs on eight hits, four walks and four K's.
- Martinez would switch places with Lopez to relief the starter in the seventh before Holman's RBI single.
- Martinez, Cobian and Irene Huizar each had two hits. Martinez netted three RBI on the day.
Head Coach Erika Blanco's crew will take an extended weekend off before heading down the 710 to face the Vikings of Long Beach CC on Tuesday, February 8th. Gametime at 3pm.