Softball: Offensive outburst gives Falcons 1-0 series lead

3B Rain Vega went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored
3B Rain Vega went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored

Facing a lineup that boasts a .372 team batting average, the Cerritos College softball team countered any offensive outburst by getting a jump on their opponent in the first game of the Southern California Regional Playoffs. The Falcons (27-13), seeded #7 for the playoffs, pounded out a 14-4, five-inning win over #10-seeded Citrus College (24-15) at Nancy Kelly Field on Friday. The Falcons now hold a 1-0 lead in their best-of-3 series and will look to close it out at noon on Saturday at Cerritos.

They jumped on the Owls in the first inning for four runs, which was aided by three errors. Sophomore outfielder Kimberly Olivas (Warren HS) reached base on a fielding error and stole second to get the offense started. Freshman catcher Briana Lopez (Norwalk HS) followed with an RBI single, with sophomore shortstop Kylee Brown (Mayfair HS) slapping out a single up the middle on the first pitch. A bad throw by center fielder Seanna Jimenez allowed Lopez to score and sent Brown to third base.

Catcher Briana Lopez was 3-for-4 at the plate and picked off a runner. The inning continued with an RBI double from freshman offensive player Carly Gutierrez (Santa Fe HS), with a fielding error on a ball hit by sophomore Kristen Voller (Norco HS) plating another run. With two outs, freshman second baseman Emma Wolff (Mayfair HS) drew bases loaded walk to account for the final run in the inning.

Voller did an admirable job against the potent Citrus offense and limited them to just a double in the first two innings. The Owls scored twice in the third and fourth innings, but were set down in order to close out the win. She allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits and kept power hitter Jade Nua off the bases. Nua, who came into the game batting .613 with 16 home runs, 62 RBI and 42 walks, reached base on an error in the third inning, but was picked off by Lopez for the final out of the stanza. She went 0-for-3 on the day.

Cerritos continued to add runs to their total against starting pitcher Danielle Dominguez and relief pitcher Vanessa Garcia. The state's leading team in walks also added five more, including two by Wolff with the bases loaded.

Freshman third baseman Rain Vega (La Mirada HS) drove in a pair with a double down the third base line in the third inning, while six different players collected at least one RBI, with seven garnering at least one hit.

The Falcons slapped five extra base hits and were benefitted by five Citrus errors, which accounted for half of the 14 runs being unearned. Four of the five hits by the Owls were extra base hits.

Lopez went 3-for-4 on the day with a pair of RBI and scored four times, with Vega posting a 3-for-4 day with two RBI and a pair of runs scored. Olivas (2-for-4) and Brown (2-for-3) both scored three runs, while Gutierrez was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and two RBI. Brown entered the post-season tied with Nua in home runs (16) and has driven in 64 runs, which is second in the state.

Photos by Daryl Peterson