Close Losses To Mt. SAC, LBCC Sign Of Softball's Improvement
From 2010-2012, the Pasadena City College softball team seemed to lose its way as a program. The Lancers struggled for victories (27) spread out each in three straight nine-win years under three different head coaches. The South Coast Conference competition was even worse for the Lancers, who have won only 12 league games during that period.
In 2013, PCC second-year head coach Brittany Williams has built a near-freshmen squad, but one that has brought the Lancers back to respectability. Instead of trying to not get beaten by the 8-run mercy rule, Pasadena has pushed a few of the top SCC programs this season.
The Lancers are already two wins away from passing their entire win output of last year with an 8-10 record. On Thursday, visiting PCC gave perennial state power Mt. San Antonio all it could handle before losing, 6-4. On Tuesday, the Lancers held a late lead v. Long Beach City College, but fell to the host Vikings, 2-1.
"We are right on the cusp of becoming a winner," Williams said. "We're not going to be pushovers like we were the past few years. This week, we're proving we belong with the other SCC programs. We have potential, and we have players who understand the game, and are improving each week."
In the Mt. SAC loss, PCC scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning to momentarily tie the Mounties, 3-3. Mt. SAC came back with three unearned runs off of PCC starter Melissa Izumida in the bottom of the inning. The Lancers held the Mounties scoreless the rest of the way and a bases loaded walk to Vanessa Contreras cut the lead to two runs in the seventh. However, PCC's comeback fell short when Mt. SAC Emily Seidel struck out Lancers' leadoff hitter/catcher Jazmin Hernandez to end the game.
PCC shortstop Allison Lacey batted 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Izumida scattered nine hits and struck out five (allowed three earned runs) to see her record fall to 4-5. The Lancers stranded 12 runners on base overall. Mt. SAC was led by two home runs from Alendrina Pichardo.
On Feb. 26, the Lancers took a 1-0 lead v. Long Beach on third baseman Katelyn Thordarson's RBI single in the fourth inning. Izumida, who has hurled three shutouts this year, blanked the Vikings on just two hits after five innings. In the sixth with one out, Izumida walked a hitter, then LBCC leftfielder Jezeree Misaalefua belted a 2-run homer over the left-center field fence. Izumida again became a hard-luck losing pitcher despite a complete game, four hits allowed, and striking out six.
PCC second baseman Audrey Serna had two of the team's three hits v. LBCC winning pitcher Candice Shadwell. The Lancers are 2-4 in conference play, but have two 1-run losses and one 2-run defeat indicating they are a far more competitive squad than recent PCC teams.
After 18 games, Serna leads the team with a .423 batting average plus two home runs and 15 RBI. Thordarson (.321 average) is the Lancers' RBI leader with 17 and runs scored with 16. Izumida is doing well with a .412 average and she has struck out 52 batters in 53-2/3 innings pitched.
Today, Friday, March 1, the Lancers play in the Golden West Tournament in Huntington Beach. PCC plays at 9 a.m. v. Southwestern and at 1 p.m. against Santa Barbara City College. The tourney continues on Saturday, March 2 with games to be announced.
[Photo--Lancer centerfielder Ashley Shaneberger is on her way to making a diving catch on a fly ball during PCC's 6-4 loss at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut Thursday, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]