WALNUT, Calif. – El Camino College's magnificent 2017 season came to an end Saturday as the Warriors suffered a pair of losses to Mount San Antonio College and Antelope Valley College in the California Community College Softball Southern California Super Regionals at Mt. SAC.
GAME ONE: Mount SAC 9, El Camino 5
A late rally was not enough as the Warriors fell to the host Mounties in the winner's bracket game on Saturday afternoon. ECC fell behind by seven runs before mounting a late comeback with four runs in the sixth to make a game of it.
Mounties starting pitcher and South Coast Conference-North Division Pitcher of the Year Tiffany Kennedy-Cummings no-hit the Warriors for five and 1/3 innings before Kamryn Fisher singled to center to break up the bid. Still, Kennedy-Cummings held the Warriors scoreless into the sixth inning.
But trailing 7-0 in the sixth, the Warriors made their stand. Ronni Silas started things off with a single to center field and then Raelani Camez followed with a double to right, putting runners on second and third to start the frame.
Haley Reed singled in Camez to make it 7-2 and then Fisher was drilled by a pitch to force in another run and bring the tying run to the plate.
That marked the end of the day for Kennedy-Cummings as Racqual Espinoza entered to face Brigid Antonelli. The Warriors second-baseman drew yet another walk to make it 7-4 and bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate.
But Espinoza got a strikeout and a groundout to end the frame to limit the damage to four runs in the frame.
Taylor Jaurique then hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to give the Mounties a five-run cushion that the Warriors could not overcome, sending ECC to the loser's bracket while the Mounties advanced to Sunday's Super Regional championship game.
GAME TWO: Antelope Valley 5, El Camino 4
In a rematch of Friday night's opening game, the Warriors and Marauders played a tight elimination game that featured three lead changes overall. But the Warriors came up short, falling by one to the Marauders and bringing ECC's season to an end.
The game was scoreless into the third inning, when the Warriors finally struck on some good base running and two-out hitting. Camez reached on a fielder's choice to second base, putting a runner on first with two outs in the frame.
Camez quickly changed that, stealing second. Machado then walked to put runners on first and second and then Julianne Adamos came through with a single, scoring Camez and putting ECC ahead 1-0.
The Marauders answered in their half of the inning though, as Tawnee Hegre tied the game with an RBI single with the bases loaded. Karla Calderon came up throwing on the play and the Warriors managed to get Samantha Arriola at the plate to keep the game tied momentarily.
But the Marauders would take the lead on an error, allowing Valerie Dorantes to score and put AVC up 2-1.
It stayed that way until the sixth inning when the Warriors again came up with some timely hitting with two outs. With runners on second and third and two outs, Antonelli stepped up and hit a chopper along the first-base line. Catcher Sally Miramontes fielded the ball and tried to get the out at first, but Antonelli was safe with a single, allowing Wing to score the tying run.
Miramontes' throw sailed over first base, which allowed the go-ahead run to score from second base and put the Warriors up 3-2 with six outs left.
But AVC answered again in their half of the sixth as Dolly Stevens hit a solo home run with one out in the inning to tie things up, 3-3.
An error and a single put two runners on for AVC and Morgan Arndt hit an RBI single, scoring Elise Moore with the go-ahead run to put the Marauders up 4-3. Rebecca Whelchel then added another RBI single to give AVC some insurance and a 5-3 lead.
Much like the rest of the game, the Warriors final stand came with two outs in the seventh. Camez legged out an infield single with two away to bring the tying run to the plate. Machado stepped up and came up a few feet short of tying the game, hitting a double off the base of the wall in right-center, scoring Camez easily and bringing the Warriors within a run.
Machado stole third but Adamos grounded out back to the pitcher for the final out and end the Warriors season.
The Warriors finished the season with a 37-8 overall record and won their second South Coast Conference title in the last three seasons and third overall. They were the ninth team in SCC history to go undefeated in conference play and the second ECC squad to do so.
The Warriors swept the three major All-Conference awards with Wing (Player of the Year), Reed (Pitcher of the Year) and head coach Jessica Rapoza (Coach of the Year) sweeping the awards. ECC had four other players earn All-SCC honors.
In addition, Reed, Wing, Camez and Antonelli all earned spots on the 2017 California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association All-State and All-Region Teams while Camez also earned a National Fastpitch Coaches Association CalJC All-American Team.