Saddleback had three players selected to the all-Orange Empire Conference list this week in voting by conference coaches.
Freshman pitcher Lauren Molina and sophomore catcher Krystal Navarro each earned first-team all-conference recognition while sophomore shortstop Traci Everett earned second-team all-conference honors. Molina was 8-9 as a pitcher in conference games with a 3.30 ERA. She recorded 89 strikeouts in 108 innings and was also Saddleback’s second-leading hitter (.381). Half of her 24 hits were for extra bases, including seven doubles, a triple, and four home runs. She led the conference with 23 RBI and 23 runs scored.
Navarro batted .356 for the Gauchos, including two doubles and three home runs. She had 20 RBI and scored 17 runs. Everett, who was the conference Player of the Year last season as a freshman, helped the Gauchos to a 32-12 overall record and a third place finish in the conference standings (12-9) this season. She batted .338 (24 for 71) with three doubles and a triple. She added 13 RBI and scored 19 runs.
Golden West was able to keep the game close with several fine defensive plays but with the game on the line it was the pitching of Saddleback’s Lauren Molina which proved to be the difference in this game as the Gauchos held on for a 3-1 victory in Orange Empire Conference play.
Golden West (10-8, 3-4) had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the seventh inning before Molina struck out Marissa Baker and Melissa Ward to end the game. Molina had 10 strikeouts on the day while only walking one Rustler batter.
Saddleback (11-5, 4-3) scored twice in the first inning as the Gauchos came out swinging, collecting four hits to chase Golden West starting pitcher Natasha Dowler after the first inning. Lisa Noldan entered the game in the second inning and the Gauchos continued to hit the ball well. However, Golden West center fielder Jill Albert reached over the fence to rob Saddleback of a pair of three-run home runs and added two more athletic catches at the fence to save a pair of extra-base hits.
Saddleback broke open a close non-conference game against Palomar College on Monday when Traci Everett’s line drive over the center field fence plated three runs and the Gauchos (8-4) held on for a 5-2 victory over the Comets (8-4).
Through the first four innings Saddleback held a 1-0 lead, picking up an unearned run when Everett scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth. Saddleback had only collected one hit in those first four innings while Gaucho pitcher Lauren Molina had held Palomar hitless. Everett’s blast in the fifth gave the Gauchos a 4-0 lead and Saddleback added an insurance run in the sixth inning for a 5-0 lead. Palomar battled back with four hits in the top of the seventh to score two runs but Comet pinch-hitter Brenda Gill grounded out to end the game.