The Long Beach City College softball team hit its home diamond for their final regular-season home game this Thursday against the winless L.A. Harbor College Seahawks. The Vikings cruised to an 8-0 win via mercy rule highlighted by a combined no-hitter in a game that honored sophomores Denise Flores (Carson, CA), Daisy Velasquez (Bellflower, CA), Annisa Hamilton (Downey, CA), Faith Hernandez (Downey, ACA), and Sierra Torrez (Stockton, CA).
Hamilton earned the start in the circle and performed excellent in two innings of work. She cruised through her pair of frames that included a nice play off a hard-hit comebacker to deny a base hit up the middle.
Freshman pitcher Alissa Cienfuegos (Carson, CA) took over the pitching duties from there and matched Hamilton's strong performance by blanking the Seahawks through two frames. Freshman reliever Vanessa Montanez (Lakewood, CA) came in the following inning and slammed the door shut by striking out two batters en route to the team's combined no-no.
Offensively, Cienfuegos led off the outburst in the bottom of the first inning by lining an RBI double into the left-center gap, scoring Velasquez. Freshman shortstop Amanda McCalip (Bellflower, CA) followed with a two-run single, plating freshman first baseman Julia Juarez (Long Beach, CA) and Cienfuegos. Hernandez followed with a bloop-single behind the pitcher to score McCalip and grab an early 4-0 lead.
A handful of Seahawk errors help the Vikings extend their lead. Sandwiched between those errors was an RBI-single from Flores, scoring freshman catcher Samantha Ontiveros (Norwalk) thus leading to the victory.
"Allowing my pitchers to get on the mound and know that their defense is behind them – it feels good to be able to use all three pitchers, because we are going to need them for playoffs," said Head Coach Megan Martinez, who is looking to lead the Vikings to their second-consecutive playoff appearance in as many years as she has been at the helm.
The playoffs are on the horizon and the Vikings currently sit in third place behind El Camino and Cerritos. With a crucial series against EC-Compton Center up next, Martinez is ready to make a statement.
"I feel good. I feel like we are going to clinch second place and I am excited about that. The team is ready for post season. I put a lot of pressure on them, so when postseason comes we will be able to sail through."
Martinez relies on a core group of sophomores mixed with savvy freshman, but she praised the sophomore's work ethic for the past two years in the rejuvenation of the program.
"Their work ethic and commitment on and off the feel, how respectful they are, and their character - I am going to miss them a great deal."
The Vikings (21-17, 6-4 SCC-South) will finish out regular season play by completing a rainout game against EC-Compton Center and then follow with the final game this Saturday.