The Nat-ural: CF Velasquez Continues Hitting Tear As Softball Now 4-0

Nat Velasquez rips her 2-RBI double during PCC's win Tuesday at Robinson Park, photo by Richard Quinton.
Nat Velasquez rips her 2-RBI double during PCC's win Tuesday at Robinson Park, photo by Richard Quinton.

Freshman centerfielder Nathalia Velasquez knocked in four RBI to lead the Pasadena City College softball team to its fourth straight victory, 5-2 over visiting Long Beach City College Tuesday at Robinson Park. "Nat" is a big reason why the team is off to its best start in three years.

Coach Monica Tantlinger directed the 2015 team to an 8-game win streak that started that season. 

Velasquez's beginning to her college career has been a hit show as she is batting .692 (9-for-13) with three doubles, a triple, a home run and driven in a team-best eight RBI. In the LBCC victory, Velasquez singled to center to knock in letterman shortstop Alex Howard (3-for-3, two stolen bases) to give PCC a 1-0 lead in the first. Velasquez then used heads up baserunning as she scored all the way from first base on a sacrifice bunt by freshman third baseman Kaylee Medrano. The ensuing throw from first soared over the third baseman's head for an error with the Birmingham Charter High grad finishing her trip around the bases that made it 2-0.

In the third, Velasquez hit a fielder's choice grounder to first as LBCC's attempt to gun out Howard was late, making it 3-1. With runners on second and third and PCC holding on to a 3-2 lead in the fifth, Velasquez connected on a bomb to left that one-hopped the fence for a 2 RBI double, scoring second-year catcher Jeneve Medrano and Howard. 

PCC's pitching also continued its string of consistent performances. Sophomore ace Angel Wintercorn (3-0, 0.88 ERA) hurled five innings, allowing just three hits, one earned run, and striking out eight batters to record her third circle victory. Freshman pitcher Britney Lopez twirled two shutout innings (two Ks) and picked up the save. As a team, the staff has a combined 0.50 ERA and allowed only three runs (two earned) with 27 strikeouts in 28 innings. Wintercorn's control has been remarkable with no walks and 20 Ks in 16 innings of work.

"Today, we had good pitching, some good defense, and timely hitting," Tantlinger said. "I can't say enough about Nat as she is just coming up in big situations and looks so steady at the plate. Alex is doing a great job getting on base and her speed is such an asset. I'm happy with these first four games, and I want us to keep rolling."

In a 6-1 win at Ventura on Feb. 2, Velasquez batted 3-for-4 with two doubles while first baseman Amanda Flores slugged 3-for-4 with a double and a triple and two RBI. Sophomore transfer Jordan Lousararian pitched two shutout innings in relief. Designated player Kacee Howser was 2-for-3. LANCERS TURN TRIPLE PLAY--In the sixth inning, Ventura had runners on first and second and Adriana Clemons at bat. With the runners in motion on a soft liner allowed by Lousararian, PCC second baseman Briana Hernandez caught it, stepped on the second base bag and fired it to first to Flores for the rare 4-4-3 triple play.

The Lancers travel to Compton on Thursday, Feb. 8 (3 p.m.) and then will get a big test on Saturday, Feb. 10 in facing defending, undefeated state champion Cypress (on a 51-game win streak dating back to last year) as part of a doubleheader at Cypress. PCC plays the Chargers at 10:30 a.m. and then College of the Canyons at 12:30 p.m.