A flare for the dramatic was in full effect Saturday at the Vikings Softball Field as the Long Beach City College softball team faced off against the No. 9 Santiago Canyon College Hawks for a non-conference doubleheader. The Vikings split with the Hawk after narrowly losing the first game, 2-1, but coming back to reign supreme in the second game, 2-1, in extra innings.
In the first game, Long Beach was edged by a late-game run plated by the Hawks. LBCC stranded the bases loaded in three-consecutive innings and left the tying and winning run on second and third in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Freshman starting pitcher Alissa Cienfuegos (Carson, CA) was the highlight of the contest by tossing a complete game and allowing just five hits, but two runs. She also recorded the lone RBI in the game with a double in the first inning to score freshman shortstop Amanda McCalip (Bellflower, CA). McCalip had a great day at the dish by going a perfect 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
The Vikings looked to freshman pitcher Vanessa Montanez (Lakewood, CA) in the second game to continue the upward pitching trend in the circle. She did just that by tossing seven strong innings that saw her scatter just six hits.
The Vikings struck first once again after sophomore duo and one-two punch Daisy Hernandez (Bellflower, CA) and Denise Flores (Carson, CA) led off the game with singles, respectfully. Hernandez came around to score shortly after compliments of a sacrifice fly from Cienfuegos to snag an early 1- advantage.
Montanez continued to cruise, but allowed a run in the top of the seventh inning to tie up the game and force extra innings.
Cienfuegos hopped in the circle in the top of the eighth inning in relief and retired the side to give the bats to the Vikings in the bottom half.
Velasquez remained extremely clutch by leading off the inning with a screaming single up the middle. Flores followed by reaching on a fielder's choice and then advancing to second on a groundout, thus putting her in scoring position for freshman first baseman Julia Juarez (Long Beach, CA).
After working to a 1-1 count, Juarez barreled a groundball up the middle the snuck past the second baseman. Flores came around third base with her burners on and bolted for home. After a very strong throw from the Hawk's center fielder, Flores left her feet for a hook slide around the back of home plate and narrowly avoided a tag from the catcher while swiping her left hand over the plate to haul in the 2-1 victory.
The game-winning hit can be viewed here.
Cienfuegos picked up the victory after her frame in relief, while Montanez tossed one of the best games of her career despite earning the no decision. She fanned two batters in seven innings of action.
Velasquez was the spark plug for the Vikings by going 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Juarez and Cienfuegos each earned RBI.
The Vikings (13-12, 2-1 SCC) will face off against EC-Compton Center on the road Tuesday, March 21st at 3 p.m.