The Saddleback softball team fell to top-seeded Mt. San Antonio College in the opening game of the Super Regional on Friday evening, 8-3. The Gauchos opened up a quick 3-0 lead but were unable to hold the lead and will face Palomar on Saturday afternoon, facing elimination.
Saddleback once again shot out of the gate quickly as Rachel Watson continued her hot bat, slugging a 3-run home run to give the Gauchos a 3-0 lead in the opening frame. From there on, things disintegrated as Mt. SAC scored on in the bottom half of the inning, two more in the second and another in the third to take a 4-3 lead they would never relinquish. The Mounties scored two more times in both the fifth and sixth innings, hitting six home runs on the afternoon and putting the game out of reach as Saddleback slid into the loser’s bracket, one game from elimination.
For Watson, it was her third straight playoff game with a home run, giving her seven for the season and giving the Gauchos 52 on the year.
Saddleback will face Palomar at 3:00 PM on Saturday after the Comets fell to Cerritos 5-4 in the late game. The Gauchos ended the Palomar season a year ago when they defeated the Comets two games to one in the opening round of the playoffs. If victorious, Saddleback would play again on Saturday night in an elimination game against the Cerritos/Mt. SAC loser. The Gauchos and Comets have met twice this season, with Palomar defeating Saddleback both times. Palomar defeated the Gauchos 7-4 on February 11 and 4-3 on April 23.
The Saddleback softball team is coming off a big weekend after beating Grossmont College in two straight games to advance to the Super Regional Tournament this Friday through Sunday at Mt. San Antonio College. Waiting for them is a collection of heavyweights with a lot of history.
The Gauchos are the decisive underdog this weekend as they head to Walnut, California, for the double-elimination, four-team tournament. The winner of the tournament will advance to the State Tournament in Bakersfield the following weekend.
One thing is for certain, Saddleback is in the right frame of mind headed into the event after going on the road and punishing one of the top pitchers in the state for two straight days. The Gauchos, however, will have to continue that momentum into this weekend if they are going to come out alive in a regional that has four programs that have combined for 10 state titles between them.
MT. SAC MOUNTIES (38-4 OVERALL, 20-1 SOUTH COAST CHAMPIONS)
Mt. San Antonio is the top-seeded team in the south, and for good reason. The Mounties are 38-4 overall, finishing 20-1 in the South Coast Conference, a game in front of Cerritos College. Mt. San Antonio has been the most successful program in the state in the past decade, winning four state titles and appearing in the last six state title games. The Mounties have won the state title in each of the past four odd-year seasons, winning in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.
Mt. San Antonio is led by utility player Ashlynn Booker, who was one of six Mounties named to the South Coast Conference First Team and one of 10 named all conference. Booker comes into the Super Regional batting .516 for the season, leading Mt. SAC with 19 home runs, 44 RBI and a 1.183 slugging percentage. She is not alone, however, as outfielder Tiffany Sheffler batted .494 with seven home runs and a .949 slugging percentage and Alyssa Gonzales hit .471 with 11 home runs and a .916 slugging percentage. Infielder Cya Neal is the one to keep off the base paths should Mt. SAC feel the need to play small ball, as she leads the Mounties with 28 stolen bases. Catcher Tara Smith and outfielder Lauren Molino were also named to the first team after batting .439 and .421 respectively.
On the mound Mt. San Antonio has two pitchers that pitch the majority of the innings as both Michelle Escamilla (17-1, 1.69 ERA) and Alexa Limon (16-3, 2.18 ERA) were named second team all conference. The Mounties also have two other pitchers on the roster that finished a combined 5-0 on the season, in Stephanie Engle (2-0, 1.16 ERA) and Diana Rugamas (3-0, 1.90 ERA).
Mt. San Antonio advanced to the Super Regional by defeating Chaffey College 15-0 on Saturday and 10-0 on Sunday.
CERRITOS FALCONS (32-10 OVERALL, 19-2 SOUTH COAST 2ND PLACE)
The Cerritos Falcons have fought toe-to-toe with Mt. San Antonio in recent years in the South Coast Conference and have become one of the powerhouse programs in the state. Cerritos defeated Mt. SAC in the 2008 state title game after losing to the Mounties in the finale in 2007.
The Falcons have the South Coast Conference pitcher-of-the-year in Jessica Lozano, who is 28-5 with a 2.24 ERA heading into the regional. Lozano has nine shutouts on the season and has struck out 157 batters in 202+ innings this season. She is joined on the first team all conference list by catcher Jessica Roper, outfielder Shawnee Kirk and shortstop Briana Quintana. Roper led the team with a .430 average on the season, and was patient at the plate, walking 32 times for the season. Quintana finished with a .416 average, leading the team in both RBI (44) and hits (57). Kirk hit .344 for the season and was stellar in the field, finishing with a .977 fielding percentage. Outfielder Courtney Priddie was named the second team for the South Coast Conference after batting .353 for the season while outfielder Aina I’aulualo was somehow snubbed from the all conference team after leading the team with nine home runs on the season, driving in 36 runs.
Cerritos advanced to the Super Regional after being pushed to the limit by Bakersfield College. The Renegades surprised the Falcons 9-2 on Saturday before Cerritos came storming back with 11-1 and 4-1 wins on Sunday.
PALOMAR COMETS (26-11 OVERALL, 13-2 PACIFIC COAST CO-CHAMPIONS)
Although Palomar comes into the regional with the least amount of power in their lineup, they are no stranger to making noise in the playoffs. The Comets have won three state championships, appeared in eight state title games and made it to the state tournament 17 times, more than the rest of the programs combined.
Palomar had the player-of-the-year in the PCC in Danielle LeBeau, who enters the regional at 11-5 with a 2.53 ERA, striking out 106 in 102+ innings of work on the mound. LeBeau’s best work may be done at the plate, where she bats .419 for the season, leading the club with 47 hits and 19 bases-on-balls. Monica Villarreal could see just as much action on the hill for the Comets, as she finished 9-2 with a 1.36 ERA, mowing down 75 batters in just 56+ innings for the year.
Despite losing the conference tiebreaker to Grossmont, it was Palomar that took home the majority of the all conference honors as, in addition to LeBeau, the Comets had five more players named to the first team and one to the second. Utility player Jennifer Mathis put up the best power numbers for the Comets in an offense that relies on speed and timely hitting to generate runs. Mathis batted .379 for the season, leading the team in home runs (8), RBI (37) and doubles (10). The table-setters for Mathis are utility players Marissa Valdez and Kelli Starr, who combined for 22 stolen bases on the year while hitting .368 and .328 respectively. First baseman Samantha Avii was very consistent both at the plate and in the field, batting .353 for the year while claiming a .987 fielding percentage on the corner. Infielder Katie Wilford also made the first team with a .299 average for the year while outfielder Regina Norris was a second team selection after batting .327, with just two errors in the field for the entire season.
Palomar advanced to the Super Regional by going the distance with Long Beach City College last weekend. The Vikings defeated Palomar in the opening contest, 5-4, before Palomar came back to defeat LBCC 5-4 and 11-2 on Mother’s Day.
SADDLEBACK GAUCHOS (22-13 OVERALL, 14-7 ORANGE EMPIRE 3RD PLACE)
Saddleback enters the Super Regional as the youngest team left in the state playoffs, with just two sophomores on the entire roster. The Gauchos are young, but tested, finishing third in the Orange Empire Conference and riding into the regional bursting with confidence. Of the 12 losses on the season for Saddleback, only two were to teams not still playing in the playoffs (Bakersfield, Grossmont), and both of those teams were eliminated last weekend.
Shortstop Christina Bolin was named the Orange Empire Conference player-of-the-year despite the team finishing in third place after setting the program record with 30 extra base hits on the season. Bolin is batting .504 for the season, leading the team in doubles (17), RBI (40), hits (59), slugging percentage (.966) and being the tri-leader in home runs (11). She was joined on the first team by pitcher Chelsea Bertoglio, who guided the ship on the mound for the majority of the year while putting up impressive numbers at the plate. Bertoglio is 17-11 on the mound (2.65 ERA) while batting .365 with 11 home runs of her own, leading the team in bases-on-balls (26) while committing just one error in the field. Utility player Mandy Gutierrez and outfielder Shannon Wilkison were both named second team all conference, and both bring a big bat to the regional. Gutierrez also has 11 home runs on the season while batting .376 while Wilkison is batting .328 with seven home runs of her own.
Saddleback advanced to the Super Regional with consecutive wins last weekend over Grossmont College, 11-4 and 10-0.
The Super Regional will take place at Mt. San Antonio College on Friday through Sunday. Saddleback will open the tournament against Mt. San Antonio at 5:30 PM, to be followed by Cerritos and Palomar in the nightcap.
Inside the Numbers
|Mt. San Antonio
||'03. '05, '07, '09
||'89, '93, '00
The Saddleback softball team is young and talented and showed over the weekend that they can be very dangerous. The Gauchos swept a best-of-three series from Grossmont College on Sunday when it scored a technical knockout, winning 10-0 in five innings.
Saddleback pummeled one of the top pitchers in the state for the second straight game, blasting three more home runs on Sunday in advancing to the Regional Finals at Mt. San Antonio College this Friday. The Gauchos hit five home runs in two games off a pitching staff that had allowed just 13 home runs for the entire season. Of the 18 home runs Grossmont has now surrendered for the entire season, Saddleback was responsible for nine of them.
Mandy Gutierrez and Rachel Watson both hit two-run home runs in the first inning and for the second straight day the Gauchos put a Griffin team that likes to keep games close and win with speed in a tough spot by taking a 4-0 lead. Grossmont had no answers on offense, and Saddleback struck five more times in the fourth inning, led by a 3-run home run by Chelsea Bertoglio to give Saddleback a 10-0 lead. Bertoglio also pitched admirably on the hill, surrendering just four hits with no walks in five innings of work in improving to 17-11 on the season.
Saddleback finished 10-for-20 on offense in the game, as all but one player in the lineup finished with a hit. Bertoglio was 2-for-2 with three RBI and two runs-scored in a game that was called after five innings due to the mercy rule.
Saddleback now sets its sights on the Super Regional at Mt. San Antonio College and the No. 1 seeded team in the South. Joining Saddleback and Mt. SAC will be Cerritos College and Palomar College, two teams that left a bad taste in the Gaucho mouths over the past three weeks.
The Gauchos improved to 22-13 on the season with the win and now sit at 51 home runs on the season after the two-game set at Grossmont. Another interesting note for Saddleback is that they are now 13-4 on the season when playing on the road, versus just 9-9 at home. On one individual note, Watson now has six home runs on the season, four of which came against Grossmont as she hit a home run in every contest against the Griffins this season.
Grossmont finished the season 25-9.
Saddleback and Mt. San Antonio are scheduled to play at 5:30 PM on Friday night, with Cerritos and Palomar to follow. The Gauchos and Mounties have not met since the 2004 playoffs, and the last time two programs were scheduled to meet was during the 2006 season, but the game was canceled due to rain. Mt. San Antonio defeated Saddleback 2-1 in 10 innings in the 2004 playoffs, ending the Gaucho season at 23-14.
A complete Super Regional preview will be coming mid-week, so keep in tuned to the Saddleback athletics web site for all the latest news and notes regarding the upcoming regional.
The Saddleback softball team started its playoffs with an impressive 11-4 win over Grossmont College on Saturday at Grossmont. The Gauchos scored seven runs in the first inning and never looked back in taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Saddleback sprinted out of the gate like a thoroughbred on the first Saturday in May when they scored seven runs early in shocking a Grossmont team that came into the 3-game set with a 25-7 record. Rachel Watson provided the big blow, a 3-run home run to give Saddleback a big cushion to play with.
The Gauchos settled down after that, letting the lead slip to 7-3 after five innings but once again erupted for three more runs in the sixth inning, with Mandy Gutierrez blasting a 2-run homer to give Saddleback a 10-3 lead.
Chelsea Bertoglio kept the Griffins in check, surrendering six hits on the afternoon and walking just one in picking up her 16th win of the season. Bertoglio walked the opening batter of the game, and never walked a batter the rest of the afternoon.
The Gauchos had many stars on offense, led by Orange Empire Conference MVP Christina Bolin, who finished 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Ashley Putkamer finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored, including two doubles that both went off the top of the wall. Watson finished 2-for-4 with 3 RBI on the afternoon.
Saddleback improved to 21-13 on the season and more importantly grabbed a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. Game two will be played tomorrow at 12:00 PM. A third game would follow, if necessary.
The Saddleback softball team will travel to Grossmont College for a best-of-three series starting Saturday at 2:00 PM. The Gauchos and Griffins have never met in the playoffs, and the three-game set will decide which program moves on to the Super Regionals on May 13-15.
Saddleback and Grossmont met twice this season, with the Griffins winning 5-4 on February 9 and the Gauchos beating Grossmont 10-2 on April 11. In those games, Saddleback belted four home runs while outhitting the Griffins 19-13 in the process. Saddleback capitalized on three Grossmont errors in the second game, scoring five runs in the seventh inning and winning by the mercy rule.
Grossmont was the champions of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, but was seeded three spots below Palomar, a program they beat by tiebreaker for the conference title. The Griffins finished with the No. 17 RPI in the state and No. 9 in Southern California, and thus was placed below the Comets who finished No. 8 and No. 5 respectively.
Saddleback finished in third place in the Orange Empire Conference behind Riverside (#3 seed) and Cypress (#2 seed) and ended up with the No. 9 seed in Southern California. The Gauchos finished with the No. 12 RPI in the state and No. 7 in Southern California, but were seeded below conference rival Santa Ana, who finished in fifth place in the conference and four games back of the Gauchos with the No. 13 RPI. Apparently the Dons graded out particularly high with wins against automatic qualifiers, thus were placed higher than both Saddleback and Santiago Canyon, two programs that finished above them in the OEC.
Grossmont (25-7) is led by standout pitcher Melanie Goff, who led the Griffins both on the mound and at the plate. Goff hit .495 for the season on offense, striking out just five times in 99 at-bats. On the mound she was dominant at times, finishing 20-4 with 135 strikeouts. Goff had a 1.59 ERA on the season, finishing with 10 shutouts and only 15 walks in 158 innings of work.
Joining Goff on the first team All-PCAC list was conference player-of-the-year nominee Alyssa Taylor (catcher) and outfielder Hannah Rapoport. Taylor had great numbers on offense, posting a .435 average for the season with 10 home runs and 41 RBI. Rappaport batted .353 on the season, leading the entire conference with 20 stolen bases for the season.
Grossmont also had shortstop Angela Lovelady and second baseman Sonia Ray named to the second team while third baseman Clarissa Norris was named honorable mention.
Saddleback (20-13) was led by sensational freshman Christina Bolin, who finished seventh in the state with a .505 batting average and sixth in the state with 11 home runs. Bolin was named the OEC player-of-the-year, shattering the program record with 30 extra base hits on the season.
Bolin was not alone as pitcher Chelsea Bertoglio was also named to the first team and utility player Mandy Gutierrez and outfielder Shannon Wilkison were both named to the second team. Bertoglio finished 15-11 on the mound with a 2.93 ERA while batting .333 with 10 home runs of her own, leading the team with 26 walks. Gutierrez batted .375 for the season, hitting nine home runs while the lone sophomore in the bunch, Wilkison, batted .321 with seven home runs on the season.
The matchup on the surface seems to be a conflict of styles, as Grossmont is a team with great speed and pitching, built to win the tight battles with aggressive base-running. The Gauchos, conversely, are more of a power team, looking to outslug the opponent and score a big-inning knockout. In the two games played during the season, Saddleback hit four home runs off a Grossmont pitching staff that surrendered just 13 home runs the entire season. The Griffins squeaked out a one-run win early in the season while the Gauchos earned a mercy rule win late.
Game one of the series is scheduled to go off at 2:00 PM on Saturday. Game two of the series will take place on Sunday at 12:00 PM, with a third game to be played following, if necessary.
Inside the Numbers
Pitching Staff ERA
State RPI (Rating Percentage Index)
The Saddleback women's softball team (20-13) finished third in the Orange Empire Conference and earned the No. 9 seed in the Southern California Regional playoffs. That means the team will take to the road and travel south to face the No. 8 seed, Grossmont College (25-7), on Saturday, May 7, starting at 2:00 p.m.
Grossmont finished tied with Palomar for the conference title in the Pacific Coast Conference with Palomar getting the No. 5 seed in the playoffs. Saddleback and Grossmont have met twice already this season with neither team being able to win at home. Grossmont edged Saddleback, 5-4, on the Gauchos' home diamond on February 9 and Saddleback repaid the favor with a 10-2 victory in El Cajon on April 11 that was stopped after the sixth inning
due to the mercy rule.
The first round of the regional playoffs is a best-of-three series so, after meeting once on May 7, the teams will square off again at Grossmont College on Mother's Day (Sunday, May 8) starting at 12:00 p.m. and will play a third game starting around 2:00 p.m. if necessary.
Saddleback freshman softball player Christina Bolin was selected as the Orange Empire Conference player-of-the-year on Wednesday by the conference coaches. The freshman finished the regular season with astonishing numbers, leading the team in nearly every offensive category.
Bolin finished the regular season batting .505 with 11 home runs and a .991 slugging percentage. She shattered the program record of extra-base hits in a season with 30, and tied Laura Joiner (2003) for the highest batting average in a season. Her 11 home runs were second only to Starr White (17) in 2010 and she also led the Gauchos with 37 runs-scored, two triples, 37 RBI and 17 doubles. Bolin started all 33 games for Saddleback, striking out just six times in 111 at-bats.
Bolin was joined on the first team by Chelsea Bertoglio, who also put up eye-popping numbers at both the plate and on the mound. She finished 15-11 on the mound with a 2.93 ERA while batting .333 with 10 home runs of her own, leading the team with 26 walks.
Mandy Gutierrez and Shannon Wilkison were both selected to the second team as Saddleback had four players make the list, one shy of conference rivals Cypress and Riverside.
Nichole Zink of Riverside was named the conference pitcher-of-the-year while Lisa Camarco of Santiago Canyon was named the coach-of-the-year.
Christina Bolin's two-run home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning was the shot the doctor ordered as Saddleback was able to close out the Orange Empire Conference schedule with a 4-2 victory over visiting Fullerton College on Wednesday.
Saddleback honored all of the sophomore student-athletes on both teams prior to the start of the game on a beautiful, warm and sunny afternoon on the home diamond. But it was Saddleback's freshmen surge which put the Gauchos over the top on this one.
Fullerton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning on a hustling gamble play. With a runner on first base and one out, the Hornet batter bunted the ball right in front of home plate. Saddleback catcher Ashley Welsh was able to pop out from behind the plate and throw to first in time to get the batter, but the runner on first base reached second safely and then bolted for third when it was unoccupied by a fielder. The wishfull throw from first to third reached the bag before both the runner and the fielders rushing over to cover the bag and rolled out of play, allowing the runner to score.
The Gauchos made up for that deficit quickly as Nicki Jacobucci cracked a two-run home run to right center that hit the top of the fence and bounced over. But Fullerton tied the score in the top of the fifth inning as Paridyse DeVinney's single to left with two outs scored a Hornet runner from second base on a close play at the plate.
Fullerton's gamble in the top of the ninth backfired as the Hornets had runners on second and third with no outs when the Hornets' Alli Ledford lifted a fly to deep left field. But Saddleback's Shannon Wilkison backpedaled to catch the ball and then threw a strike to Welsh at home to nail Monica Ferguson who was tagging up from third base for a double play and the Gauchos got out of the inning with a fly ball to center field on the next batter.
Saddleback's heroics came in the bottom half of the inning when Emily Herrmann's infield single with one out brought up Bolin. Bolin, the leading hitter in the conference (.505) who has more than twice as many extra-base hits than any other batter in the conference, fouled on several pitches before lining a walk-off home run over the left-center field fence.
Chelsea Bertoglio (15-11) was solid on the mound for the Gauchos, scattering seven hits, striking out three, and walking just one batter in earning the win. Offensively, Saddleback left 10 runners on base during the game.
Saddleback (20-13 overall, 14-7 in OEC) will wait until this weekend to find out who it will face in the Southern California Regional playoffs starting next weekend. The Gauchos finished third in the conference this season.
Saddleback dropped a non-conference contest to visiting Palomar College on Saturday, 4-3, as a tune-up for what the team might be facing in the regional playoffs starting May 7.
The Gauchos (19-13) took the early lead in the bottom of the first inning as Saddleback's leadoff batter, first baseman Mandy Gutierrez, launched a solo home run over the left field fence. The Gauchos gave a run back in the third inning on two Palomar singles followed by two walks.
Saddleback had plenty of opportunities in the middle innings, loading the bases in both the fourth and fifth innings with just one out but could not push any runs across either time. Palomar took advantage in the sixth inning, plating three runners for a 4-1 lead. A Gaucho miscue allowed two unearned runs to score.
After going down in order in the sixth inning, Saddleback put together a late rally in the seventh inning. With two outs, the Gauchos collected four straight singles by Christina Bolin, Chelsea Bertoglio, Shannon Wilkison, and Nicki Jacobucci. Jacobucci's soft fly ball to shallow center field drove in two runs and the Gauchos trailed 4-3 before a pop-up to shortstop ended the game.
Rachel Watson had a pair of doubles for the Gauchos while Bolin, Wilkison, and Jacobucci each had a pair of singles as Saddleback outhit Palomar, 11-7.
The Gauchos, who have secured a third-place finish in the Orange Empire Conference, will host Fullerton on Wednesday, April 27, in the final conference contest of the season before waiting to hear word about their playoff seeding. Wednesday's game is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m.
Two days after being humbled by Cerritos College, the Saddleback softball team bounced back with a dominating performance against Orange Coast College on Wednesday. The Gauchos scored 11 runs in the seventh inning in defeating the Pirates, 16-2.
The young Saddleback lineup had a gut-check on Wednesday after falling badly to Cerritos in a late-season test on Monday and for awhile, looked like a team just going through the motions. Head coach Nick Trani then challenged his young lineup before the seventh inning and they responded with a breakout inning.
“I asked them when they were going to start acting like a regional team,” Trani said. “They answered the call by scoring 11 times in the inning.”
The big blow of the inning came from freshman leader Christina Bolin, who hit a grand slam in the seventh to put the game out of reach and take the team lead with 10 home runs on the season. One batter later, Chelsea Bertoglio once again tied Bolin for the team lead with her 10th home run of the season on a solo shot.
Saddleback tapped Orange Coast pitching for 15 hits, as every player in the lineup had at least one hit and scored at least one run. Bolin finished 4-for-4 with five RBI in leading the Gaucho attack while Bertoglio pitched seven innings in picking up the win on the mound. Bertoglio left after the sixth inning but returned in the seventh in picking up her 14th win of the season.
Bolin now has 28 extra-base hits for the season, a new record for the Gaucho program set by Starr White (25) in 2010. The 2-year record of 38 was set by Lauren Molina in 2008-09.
Saddleback now has 42 home runs on the season, the second highest total in program history behind the 2010 team that hit 65.
The Saddleback softball team continued its winning way on Saturday when it traveled to Santa Barbara City College for a double-header against Rio Hondo College and Santa Barbara City College. The Gauchos came home with two more wins after downing Rio Hondo 10-1 and Santa Barbara 8-4.
Saddleback jumped out to early 5-0 lead in game one and never looked back against Rio Hondo. The Gauchos finished off the game in the sixth inning, winning by the mercy rule. Mandy Gutierrez (8) and Ashley Putkamer (1) both homered for Saddleback, pushing the team total to 39 for the year. Gutierrez was also solid on the mound, surrendering just two hits in 3 2/3 innings of work before giving way to Nicki Jacobucci, who finished off the Roadrunners.
The Gauchos then took on a Santa Barbara team that entered the contest 25-4, with hot pitcher Kailey Snyder on the mound. Santa Barbara jumped out to 3-1 lead in the first inning before Saddleback came back with runs in the second and third inning to tie the game. The Gauchos and Vaqueros entered the sixth inning tied at 4-4 when Saddleback exploded for four runs, putting the game away. In all, Saddleback touched Snyder for 11 hits, including Christina Bolin’s ninth home run of the season.
The Gauchos now have 40 home runs on the season, the second highest total in program history behind the 2010 team that hit 65.
Saddleback is now 17-11 overall on the season and has another key non-conference battle against Cerritos College on Monday. The Gauchos will host the Falcons at 3:00 PM at the Saddleback Field.
Saddleback and Cerritos last faced each other last season, with the Falcons winning 8-0 in the College of the Desert Tournament on February 20. Cerritos (24-8) is currently No. 4 in the latest RPI while the Gauchos are No. 8.
The Saddleback softball team entered the week with some key games on the schedule and won its first against Grossmont College on Monday before facing Santiago Canyon on Wednesday. Saddleback prevailed on the road for a second straight time, beating the Hawks 4-2 to take over third place in the Orange Empire Conference.
In what was a sloppy game that saw both teams commit a number of errors, Saddleback took advantage of a critical Santiago Canyon blunder in scoring two runs in the 5th inning to take a 3-2 lead. Chelsea Bertoglio’s two-out double scored both Shannon Wilkison and Christina Bolin to take the lead and Saddleback never relinquished the lead the rest of the way.
“We did everything we could to give the game away,” head coach Nick Trani said. “We took advantage of their mistakes just a bit better than they took advantage of ours.”
Bertoglio was very good on the mound for the second time this week, surrendering just four hits while striking out five in going the distance for her 11th win of the season.
Mandy Gutierrez gave the Gauchos spark on offense, finishing 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored, including her seventh home run of the season in the seventh inning to give Saddleback a two-run cushion. It was the 37th home run of the season for the Gauchos in just 25 games.
Saddleback will now have another key battle this Friday when it hosts perennial power Cypress College at home at 1:00 PM. Saddleback and Cypress have played twice this season, with the Gauchos taking early leads only to see the Chargers come storming back for wins on both occasions. Cypress currently sits in second place in OEC play, two games in front of Saddleback.
The Saddleback softball team picked up a big non-conference win on Monday when it defeated Pacific Coast Conference leading Grossmont College, 10-2, in six innings. Chelsea Bertoglio kept the Griffins off balance with a 4-hitter while picking up three hits of her own.
Bertoglio was solid on the mound, striking out five while surrendering just one earned run in six innings of work. She is now 10-8 on the season after defeating a Grossmont team that came into the game with a 21-6 record and leading the Pacific Coast Conference. Bertoglio also got it done at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with two RBI as Saddleback improved to 14-10 on the season.
The big blast of the day came from Rachel Watson, who hit her fourth home run of the season into a stiff wind. Watson finished 2-for-4 with four RBI, including the 3-run blast in the third inning to give the Gauchos a 5-0 lead.
Despite being just four games above .500, Saddleback still has the No. 10 RPI in the state after the win and will continue to play solid competition over the next week, looking to improve on that number. The Gauchos have critical conference games against Santiago Canyon on Wednesday and Cypress on Friday before traveling to the Santa Barbara City College Tournament over the weekend where they will face Western State Gold Division leading Santa Barbara in game two of the tournament on Saturday.
The Saddleback softball team is young and talented but found out on Friday just how deep the talent level runs in the Orange Empire conference. The Gauchos fell to fifth place Santa Ana, 5-2, and with the loss fell into a tie for third in conference play with five games remaining.
Saddleback continued its torrid home run pace with two more bombs on Friday, but was unable to piece together any more runs throughout the game. Meanwhile, Santa Ana scored three times in the second inning and made it stick, holding on for the important OEC victory to keep the Dons’ playoff hopes alive.
The Gauchos had their opportunities, but could not come up with the key hit in big situations. They failed to score with the bases loaded in the second inning and then wasted a leadoff double by Mandy Gutierrez in the third. An inning later, Saddleback had runners at second and third with two outs but a weak ground ball to the pitcher once again thwarted the effort. The final real scoring chance came in the sixth inning when the Gauchos had runners at first and second with two out, but a pop out to third ended the scoring threat.
The loss drops Saddleback into a third place tie in the Orange Empire Conference with Santiago Canyon College, 2.5 games back of second place Cypress and four games behind Riverside, with five games to play.
The Gauchos will meet both Santiago Canyon and Cypress next week when they travel to Santiago Canyon on Wednesday and then host Cypress on Friday. Previous to those two games, Saddleback will travel to Grossmont College on Monday for a non-conference game against the Griffins. First pitch on Monday is scheduled for 3:00 PM.
The two home runs by Shannon Wilkison and Chelsea Bertoglio gave the Gauchos 35 for the season. It was the seventh home run of the season for Wilkison and eighth for Bertoglio. Christina Bolin and Bertoglio now lead the team with eight home runs apiece.
Visiting Riverside City College turned in a handful of exceptional defensive plays to stop Saddleback's offensive heroics in each of the last four innings to secure a tight 2-1 victory for Riverside on Wednesday afternoon in Mission Viejo.
Leading 2-0 after three innings, the Tigers decided that defense might be the key to a victory. Saddleback's Amy Baldridge lined a shot to center field with a runner on first base and one out in the fourth inning, but Tiger center fielder Sarah Vasquez made a diving catch to keep Baldridge from a potential double. In the fifth inning, Saddleback's Christina Bolin lined a shot to center field with runners at second and third with just one out but Vasquez again made a lunging catch. It turned into a sacrifice fly for Bolin but could have easily scored two runs if it would have landed on the grass in front of Vasquez.
The crushing defensive play came in the sixth inning when Saddleback pitcher Chelsea Bertoglio (pictured) was trying to help her own cause with a towering fly ball to left field with a runner on first and no outs. But Tiger left fielder Shelby Vanderwall reached over the fence to catch the ball and rob Bertoglio of a go-ahead two-run homer. Saddleback's final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh was extended when Emily Herrmann rolled a single through the left side of the infield with two outs, bringing Bolin to the plate for some last-minute heroics. But Bolin's deep fly ball to right field was caught just two steps inside the fence to end the game. Saddleback left runners on base in each of the final four innings.
Saddleback will try to get back on track on Friday (April 8) when it hosts Santa Ana College at 2:00 p.m.
Pitcher Chelsea Bertoglio retired the first nine Hornets she faced on Friday, but her biggest contribution in the game was a three-run homerun she hit in the fifth inning to lift Saddleback to a 6-2 victory over visiting Fullerton.
Saddleback had taken a 1-0 lead in the third inning after Christina Bolin drew a two-out walk and later scored as Shannon Wilkison and Mandy Gutierrez followed with singles. The Gauchos added another run in the fourth inning when Ashley Putkamer collected a two-out single, advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt by the catcher, and scored on Nicki Jacobucci's single to center field.
Leading 2-1 in the fifth inning, Saddleback opened up the lead as Bolin drew a leadoff walk and Wilkison followed with a walk. Gutierrez' fly ball to center field was caught, but Bertoglio's fly ball sent the Hornet center fielder backpedaling until the outfield fence impeded her from tracking the ball any further. The Gauchos added a run in the sixth inning after Putkamer walked, advanced to third on a pair of bunts, and then stole home on a pitch that got away from the catcher.
Bertoglio retired the first nine Fullerton batters she faced before giving up a single to left in the fourth inning. Fullerton scored an unearned run in the fifth inning on a fielder's choice, a wild pitch, and then an error on a dropped ball in the outfield. The Hornets added an unearned run in the sixth inning without hitting the ball to the grass on a pair of infield singles, a throwing error which advanced the runner to third, and then a steal of home. Bertoglio (10-6) had four strikeouts, no walks, and limited Fullerton to four singles as she picked up her 10th victory of the season.
The Saddleback softball team battled back from a heartbreaking loss to Cypress last week by taking it out on Golden West College, beating the Rustlers 8-0 in five innings on Wedesday. The Gauchos scored six times in the fourth inning while Christina Bolin had a big day at the plate to pace the offense.
Bolin hit two home runs on the day, giving her eight for the season, while finishing 4-for-4 on the day with three RBI. She is now in fifth in the state in home runs and batting .493 for the season, which ranks in the top-25 in the state. Bolin’s 20 extra base hits on the season is just five shy of the program record of 25 set by Starr White last season.
While Bolin was magical at the place, Chelsea Bertoglio was nearly perfect on the mound. Bertoglio surrendered just two hits with no walks in improving to 8-6 on the season.
Saddleback improved to 12-8 overall and 9-4 in Orange Empire Conference play with the win. The Gauchos are currently in third place in the OEC, one game back of Cypress College and three games back of first place Riverside.
Saddleback will play again on Friday when they host Fullerton College. First pitch is set for 2:00 PM.
The Saddleback softball team came up with a big win on Wednesday, scoring three times in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Santa Ana College, 7-6. Rachel Watson’s two-out double to center field drove in the winning run as the Gauchos improved to 7-3 in Orange Empire Conference play.
Things looked ominous for Saddleback, trailing 6-4 heading into the bottom of the final inning. The Gauchos started the inning with consecutive walks to Christina Bolin and Shannon Wilkison before Amy Baldridge lined out to the pitcher on a bunt attempt. Chelsea Bertoglio then became the third Saddleback player to advance on a walk, loading the bases with one out. After Mandy Gutierrez popped out to third base, the Gauchos were down to their final out when they struck for three runs. Nicki Jacobucci singled through the left side of the infield to tie the game at 6-6 before Watson put a stamp on things with her game-winning double.
Jacobucci and Bolin both led the offensive attack with two hits apiece, including a Bolin’s fourth home run of the season. Saddleback capitalized on five walks by Santa Ana pitchers in moving within one game of second place Cypress, who lost to Riverside on Wednesday.
Saddleback now stands at 10-7 overall and 7-3 in the OEC. The Gauchos will play again next Monday at Orange Coast College. First pitch is set for 3:00 PM.
The Saddleback softball team was looking to stop a two-game losing streak when it headed to Fullerton College on Wednesday to take on a Hornet team that had the No. 12 RPI in the state. The Gauchos took the sting out of the Hornets early, cruising to a 9-0 win.
Saddleback was hurting after giving up 22 runs in two games over the weekend at Antelope Valley and looked like a team ready to make a statement. The Gauchos scored four times in the first inning and three more times in the second, hitting two more home runs on the day. On the mound, Saddleback was a different team as well as Chelsea Bertoglio lost a no-hit bid with a late single.
Bertoglio was the star of the day, hitting a 3-run home run in the top of the first inning to give the Gauchos a 4-0 lead. Mandy Gutierrez followed Bertoglio with a 2-run shot in the second as the Gauchos now have 20 home runs on the season.
Gutierrez finished 3-for-4 with two RBI in leading a Saddleback attack that accounted for 13 hits in the five-inning game.
Saddleback will play again when it returns home to face second place Riverside on Friday. The Gauchos are currently in third place in the Orange Empire Conference, one game back of the Tigers. First pitch is set for 5:00 PM.
The Saddleback softball team made quick work of Orange Coast College on Wednesday, defeating the Pirates 10-2 in five innings due to the mercy rule. The Gauchos fell behind early but bounced back in improving to 7-4 on the season.
Saddleback looked a bit surprised early when Summer Comstock homered to left field to give the Pirates an early 2-0 lead. The Gauchos bounced back with one run in the bottom of the first inning before exploding for five more in the third. With two outs and one on base to start the third, Saddleback combined four hits with two walks and a passed ball in opening up what had previously been a close game. Amy Baldridge tied the game at 2-2 with an RBI single and after another single and a walked batter, Shannon Wilkison drove in two more runs with a single down the right field line. Mandy Gutierrez would follow with an RBI single to left before the Gauchos would capitalize on one more walk and a passed ball for the final run of the inning.
Leading 7-2 headed into the bottom of the fifth inning, the game ended when Baldridge connected on her third hit of the game to drive in two runs and give the Gauchos an 8-run lead. She finished 3-for-4 with 3 RBI to lead an offensive attack that pounded out 12 hits to go along with eight walks.
Gutierrez pitched four solid innings in picking up the win and improving to 4-1 on the season. Gutierrez surrendered just four hits and no walks as Chelsea Bertoglio came on to work the fifth inning in relief.
Saddleback improved to 7-4 overall and 4-2 in Orange Empire Conference play with the win. The Gauchos are scheduled to play a double-header on Saturday at Antelope Valley College, starting at 11:00 AM against Bakersfield College to be followed with a game against Antelope Valley at 1:00 PM. Both games are rumored to be broadcasted by CSN, a local web broadcasting outfit that supports various Antelope Valley College events.
The Saddleback softball team had a tough task on Monday of bouncing back from a difficult loss against top-ranked Cypress College last Friday. The Gauchos fell behind early to Golden West College, but righted the ship in powering their way past the Rustlers, 8-2.
Saddleback fell behind 2-0 on Monday and some wondered if the young Gaucho squad was still in shock after squandering a 5-0 lead over top-ranked Cypress on Friday. Saddleback battled back with a vengeance on Monday, scoring five times in the first inning in cruising to an 8-2 win.
After a single to lead off the bottom of the first by Christina Bolin, Shannon Wilkison walked and Mandy Gutierrez blasted a 3-run homer to serve notice that the Gauchos were indeed resilient in the face of adversity. Saddleback would score two more times in the inning and Gutierrez would shut down the Rustlers the rest of the way as the Gauchos improved to 6-4 on the season and 3-2 in Orange Empire Conference play.
Bolin had a big day at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with two runs-scored, including a big home run in the seventh inning to cap off the scoring. Gutierrez, Chelsea Bertoglio and Amy Baldridge would all finish with two hits apiece as Saddleback racked up six, extra-base hits on the day.
Gutierrez improved to 3-1 on the season, giving up seven hits in seven innings of work.
The Gauchos will play again on Wednesday at home against Orange Coast College. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 PM.
The Saddleback softball program set a program record last season when it hit 65 home runs, with (then) sophomore Starr White setting the program record with 17. Shannon Wilkison is doing her best to catch White as she hit two home runs on Wednesday, leading Saddleback to a 7-3 win over Santiago Canyon College.
Wilkison now has five home runs on the season as she finished 2-for-2 with two home runs on the day, being intentionally walked in her final two plate appearances. Her two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning gave the Gauchos a 2-1 lead and then another towering two-run shot to center field in the second inning gave Saddleback a comfortable 5-1 lead.
Mandy Gutierrez pitched into the fifth inning before giving way to Chelsea Bertoglio the rest of the way. Gutierrez improved to 2-0 on the season with the win, surrendering six hits over 4-1/3 innings of work. Bertoglio was untouchable from there, striking out three while allowing no hits to the Hawks.
Gutierrez was also active at the plate, finishing with three hits in four at-bats. Ashley Putkamer and Amy Baldridge both finished with two hits apiece as Saddleback struck for 12 hits on the afternoon.
The Gauchos improved to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in Orange Empire Conference play with the win. Santiago Canyon fell to 7-4 overall and 1-2 in OEC play with the loss.
Saddleback will play again on Friday at perennial power Cypress College. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM.
The Saddleback softball team had a difficult test in the Orange Empire Conference opener in traveling to Santa Ana to take on a solid Dons team that had started the season 7-2. The Gauchos answered the call, beating Santa Ana 6-2 on Monday in Santa Ana.
Saddleback fell behind 1-0 in the first inning before charging back with one run in the second inning and three more in the third to take a 4-1 lead. They then added insurance runs in the sixth and seventh innings behind a hitting attack that pounded out 12 hits.
Mandy Gutierrez had a solid outing on the mound, pitching five and a fraction innings, giving up one earned run while striking out two. Chelsea Bertoglio came on in relief, striking out three in the final two innings of work. It was Gutierrez’ first win of her career at Saddleback as she gave up seven hits but just one walk in silencing a Santa Ana offense that was averaging 7.4 runs-per-game entering the contest.
The Saddleback bats made a lot of noise, as all but two players finished the game with at least one hit. The Gauchos pounded out four doubles as Nicki Jacobucci, Amy Baldridge and Emily Herrmann all had two hits apiece on the afternoon. Guteirrez was also dangerous at the plate, leading Saddleback with two RBI on the day.
Saddleback improved to 6-2 on the season with the win and will travel to Riverside College on Wednesday to take on the Tigers. First pitch is set for 3:00 PM.
The Saddleback softball team has only played bits and pieces of 15 innings of softball this season but has already made an early statement. The Gauchos shut out San Diego City College, 9-0, in five innings (mercy rule) on Monday to improve to 3-0.
Saddleback was once again lethal out of the gate, scoring four times in the opening inning, led by a two-run, 230-foot home run to left field by Chelsea Bertoglio. The Gauchos would add one more run in the second inning when Shannon Wilkison blasted a 245-foot shot to dead-center field to give the Gauchos a 5-0 lead through two innings of play. Saddleback would score four more times in the third inning, giving the Gauchos a comfortable lead to play with.
Not to be outdone, the pitching staff was as good as it can get, as Bertoglio and Mandy Gutierrez combined on a no-hitter. Bertolio struck out one batter through three innings while Gutierrez struck out two batters in two innings of work.
On offense, Saddleback was led by Bertoglio, Nicki Jacobucci and Christina Bolin, who all had two hits apiece.
Saddleback improved to 3-0 on the season ad has outscored opponents 37-3 over 15 innings this season. The Gauchos will play again on Wednesday at home against Grossmont College (4-2). First pitch is set for 3:00 PM.
Saddleback opened the week rated No. 16 in the state and No. 8 in Southern California in the coach’s poll.
Saddleback's softball team is proving to be a bad host this season, putting up 14 runs for the second time in two games and sending its opponent home early via the mercy rule. This time it was the Chaffey College Panthers who were beaten, 14-3.
After giving up a triple in the top of the first inning, Saddleback pitcher Chelsea Bertoglio settled in and recorded nine outs around a catcher's interference call before surrendering Chaffey's second hit of the game - a double - in the fourth inning. Chaffey rallied for two singles and scored all three runs in the fifth inning, aided by two walks, two errors, and a hit batsman.
But that short rally was long after Saddleback had built a 14-0 lead. The Gauchos sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning to score nine runs. Sophomore center fielder Shannon Wilkison led off the bottom half of the first inning with a towering home run to right field. Four batters walked in the inning and Chaffey made two errors to hurt themselves. Ashley Putkamer had an run-scoring single in the first frame and Christina Bolin added a two-run double in her second at-bat of the inning. Bolin added an RBI-double in the fourth inning to account for her two hits and Putkamer added a two-run single in the fourth inning to account for her second hit as Saddleback posted 10 hits as a team.
The Gauchos will travel to San Diego City College on Monday and return home to host Grossmont College on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 3:00 p.m.
Saddleback opened the 2011 season with a 14-0 blanking of visiting L.A. Valley College on Friday night in a game called in the middle of the fifth inning due to the mercy rule. There was nothing "short" about the shortened game as it still lasted nearly two hours.
After going down in order in the bottom half of the first inning, Saddleback took advantage of two hits and two Monarch errors to put up five runs in the second inning. Shannon Wilkison's single to right-center field drove in two runs and Christina Bolin (pictured) added a sacrifice fly to right field as the Gauchos batted around.
Saddleback broke the game open in the third inning with six more runs and L.A. Valley helped out the Gauchos' cause by making five errors in the inning. Saddleback then added three runs on three hits in the fourth inning, assisted again by one L.A. Valley error. Bolin doubled to the left field fence to drive in two runs
and Mandy Gutierrez followed with a double down the left field line to drive in Bolin.
Wilkison finished with two hits and two RBI while also scoring twice. Bolin accounted for three RBI on the night while Chelsea Bertoglio, Rachel Watson, Nicki Jacobucci, Amy Baldridge, and Emily Herrmann each scored two runs.
Saddleback will be home again on Saturday, Feb. 5, to host Chaffey in a 11:00 a.m. contest.