Softball Rallies To Tie, But Cerritos Wins In Wild 7th, 9-7

Leilani Montanez drops a bunt single during PCC's loss v. Cerritos Tuesday, photo by Richard Quinton.
Leilani Montanez drops a bunt single during PCC's loss v. Cerritos Tuesday, photo by Richard Quinton.

The Pasadena City College softball team rallied from down 4-0 and then 7-4, tying it 7-7 with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. But a controversial umpire call at first, a key hit, and the infield fly rule came to benefit Cerritos in a 9-7 victory over the Lancers at Robinson Park on Tuesday.

After starting the season with a 5-game win streak, PCC dropped its third straight game to fall to 5-3. Cerritos upped its record to 6-5. The game was a South Coast Conference crossover, one that does not count toward conference standings.

Cerritos held a 7-4 lead, but in the bottom of the sixth, second baseman Audrey Sebastian hit a RBI single, then catcher Jeneve Medrano reached on a 2-base error as her fly ball to center was dropped. Shortstop Alex Howard followed with a 2-run single to center that tied it at 7-7. Howard eventually advanced to third on a stolen base and catcher throwing error. With two outs, PCC thought it had taken the lead when Kaylee Medrano hit a grounder to third and the subsequent throw to first appeared to pull Cerritos first baseman Keira Bolinas off the bag. But instead, the base umpire ruled Medrano out at first to end the inning much to the dismay of the PCC coaching staff.

In the top of the seventh, PCC reliever Britney Lopez (2-2) walked the bases loaded, allowing Bolinas to deliver a 2-out, 2-RBI hit to left center to regain the Cerritos lead.

Pasadena, though, refused to quit in the bottom of the seventh. The Lancers loaded the bases on an infield single by first baseman Amanda Flores, a bunt single by rightfielder Leilani Montanez, and a walk to leftfielder Briana Hernandez. With one out, Sebastian hit a short pop as Cerritos shortstop Tena Spoolstra and third baseman Briana Lopez let the ball drop between them. The home umpire called out the infield fly rule, however, automatically making Sebastian out. However in the confusion, Flores bolted home and was then thrown out by Spoolstra for a bizarre, game-ending double play. 

Sebastian had a banner day overall as she was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Howard hit 3-for-4 with two RBI and two stolen bases, and both Montanez and Flores each recorded 2-hit games. For Cerritos, Bolinas batted 3-for-4 with a double. Of the 28 players available on the two teams' rosters all but one player played in the game with only PCC reliever Jordan Lousararian not making an appearance.

On Saturday, the Lancers saw their season-opening win streak stopped by defending state champion Cypress, 9-1, then suffered a 6-1 loss to College of the Canyons in a pair of games played at Cypress. In the loss to the Chargers, Howard hit a triple and scored the team's lone run on a sacrifice fly by centerfielder Nathalia Velasquez (1-for-2, double). Against COC, Jeneve Medrano was 1-for-3 with a RBI.

Velasquez had her 7-game hit streak snapped in going 0-for-4 v. Cerritos. The freshman is leading the Lancers in batting with a .519 average, four doubles, a triple, and 11 RBI. Howard is batting .379 and has nine of PCC's 30 stolen bases this season. That places the team fourth in the state in total steals.

It won't get easier to get back into the win column on Thursday, Feb. 15 when PCC visits always tough El Camino College in a 3 p.m. SCC crossover.