By Wes McCurtis
CYPRESS, CA- The Cypress College softball team (24-0, 11-0 OEC) solidified themselves as the top team in Southern California after sweeping their doubleheader with Mt. San Antonio (22-3, 4-0) at home on Saturday afternoon. The Chargers jumped out to an early lead to win the first game, 6-3. Cypress picked up their second victory of the day over the Mounties in walk-off fashion, 3-2.
Cypress entered the day ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 1 in Southern California, while Mt. SAC held a No. 3 state ranking and No. 2 Southern California ranking.
Game 1: Destiny Vasquez (13-0) went the distance to receive the win for Cypress. Vasquez allowed 3 runs, including 2 earned runs, on 5 hits while striking out 5 Mounties. Emma Walker (1-for-2, 2RBI) and Melanie Okazaki (1-for-2, 2RBI) found ways to consistently get on base to lead the Cypress offense.
Raquel Espinoza (9-1) received her first loss of the season after giving up 5 runs, including 3 earned runs, on 4 hits in 3.0 innings. Tiffany Kennedy-Cummings pitched the final 3.0 innings in relief, allowing only 1 hit while notching 4 strikeouts.
Okazaki got the Chargers started with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the first. Sydney McCollum (1-for-4, RBI) drilled an RBI single to centerfield to score Okazaki. Jenny Vasquez followed that up with a hard-hit double to center field. Nicole Wise (0-for-3) stepped to the plate and hit a hard ground ball that was misfielded by the shortstop and sent out of play, advancing Vasquez and McCollum home to take a 3-0 lead.
The Chargers added 2 more runs on a 2 RBI double from Walker in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead. Teams traded wins in the fourth inning before the Mounties cut the deficit to just 3 runs in the top of the sixth. Toni Mendoza (1-for-3, RBI) blasted an RBI single to center field, which was followed up by a sacrifice fly from Bree Maikai (1-for-2, RBI), making it a 6-3 game.
Vasquez held the Mounties in check in the seventh to hold on and take game 1, 6-3.
Game 2: Destiny Vasquez (14-0) received the win in relief for the Chargers after allowing just 1 hit in 3.0 innings. Nicole Wise (2-for-3, RBI) was the lone bright spot for the Chargers' offense, which was held to just 3 hits for the game.
Tiffany Kennedy-Cummings (8-1) received her first loss of the season despite a quality performance in the circle. Cummings gave up 3 runs on 3 hits with 5 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work.
The Chargers opened up the scoring again as Sydney McCollum (1-for-3, HR) drilled her first homerun of the season over the left field wall. With 2 outs and nobody on Alexis Zavala (0-for-2) got on base after a hit by pitch. Wise stepped to the dish and slapped an RBI double down the left field line to score Zavala and give Cypress a 2-0 lead.
Mt. SAC answered with 2 runs of their own in the top of the second inning. With 2 on and 2 out the Mounties rallied to tie the game with back-to-back RBI singles from Miranda Larios (2-for-4, RBI) and Aleyah Wilbon (2-for-4, RBI).
The score remained tied heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. Wise came up big for Cypress again with a leadoff single to start the inning. Vasquez (0-for-2) advanced Wise to second with a sacrifice bunt before Emma Walker (0-for-2) was intentionally walked to give the Mounties a chance to execute a double-play. Tianna Harris (RBI) entered the game to pinch hit and sent home the winning run with a walk-off sacrifice fly to win 3-2.
Cypress is set to resume Orange Empire Conference play on Wednesday, March 29 at 3:00 p.m. when they host Golden West College.
Stay connected with the Chargers through social media. Follow Cypress College Athletics on Twitter @CypressChargers. Check in with the Chargers on Facebook/CypressChargers and on Instagram @CypressChargers.