ELAC Advances in State Playoffs

ELAC_AVC_1398-WebverfsThe East Los Angeles College women’s softball team is advancing to state Southern California Super Regionals at Cypress College.

The third-seeded Huskies (35-8) will play No. 6 Saddleback (34-10) in a four-team, double-elimination tournament at 4 p.m. this weekend.

ELAC defeated Antelope Valley College, 12-0, to win a best-of-three series in the opening round of the SoCal Regionals held last weekend. The Huskies won the series opener, 1-0, on Saturday, but on Sunday Antelope Valley took the second game, 4-1, Sunday to force a third and deciding game.

“We’re excited about our chances in the Super Regionals, especially the way we played in the third game with Antelope Valley” ELAC Coach Erika Blanco says. “That’s how we’ve played all year.”

ELAC made its first-ever playoff appearance in 2009 and made college history again last Saturday by winning its first playoff game. Moreover, the series opener was the first playoff game ever played at ELAC.The Huskies pounded out nine hits and took advantage of five walks and three errors to whip Antelope Valley, 12-0, in the elimination game. They took advantage of three walks and two errors to score four runs in the second inning.

Third baseman Monica Robles, a freshman from Whittier’s California High School, delivered a two-run single to key an inning in which 11 Huskies batted. Stephanie Torres (Palisades Charter HS) drew a walk to start the inning and Renae Ramirez (St. Paul HS) sparked the rally with the first of her three singles.

The Huskies turned it into a rout by scoring seven runs in the third. Melissa Rubio (South East HS) doubled to drive in one of the runs, Ariana Atwater (Whittier HS) had an RBI single and Torres walked to force in another.

Rubio, the starting pitcher who worked the first two innings, and Pamela Ramirez, combined to shut out Antelope Valley (24-15) in a game that was called after five innings because of the score.
“Melissa and Pamela were outstanding,” Blanco said. “They both shut them out and I think it was a key that we had a pitching staff that was better than Antelope Valley’s. Antelope Valley is a good hitting team and scored a lot of runs this season. Our pitchers did a good job keeping them off balance.”
The teams also played twice during the regular season and the Huskies won all five meetings.
“Antelope Valley scored 6 runs off us in five games,” Blanco noted. “Our pitchers did a great job against them.”

The Huskies complemented their pitching with stellar defense, especially at the start of Game 3. Lopez made a diving stop of a ground ball hit to third to retire the leadoff batter. Second baseman Katrina Castaneda (La Serna HS) followed with another diving stop of a ball hit to the hole to get the second out.

“I think it definitely set the tone for the game,” Blanco said. “Those were hard hits, but we just played some good defense.”

The game’s highlight reel also included diving catches in the outfield by Renae Ramirez on the left field line and in center field by Vanessa Vasquez (San Gabriel HS).

Kaelynn Armenta pitched a shutout in the Huskies’ 1-0 victory in Game 1. The sophomore standout from St. Paul High School limited Antelope Valley to four hits. She struck out seven and walked one.

A run by the Huskies in the first inning was all Armenta needed to get the win. Monique Zavada (Marshall) reached first base safely to start the game on a passed ball. Lopez bunted her to second and Elizabeth Lopez (Whittier HS) drew a walk. Zavada scored on a two-out single by Atwater.

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