TORRANCE, Calif. – No. 4 El Camino College entered Saturday needing one win to advance to the next round, but No. 5 Fullerton managed to outlast the Warriors and take two games to eliminate ECC in the California Community College Athletics Association Softball SoCal Super Regionals at the ECC Softball Field.
GAME TWO: Fullerton 5, El Camino College 4
The Warriors were the designated visiting team in game two and scored four times in the second inning to take a 4-1 lead. Mina Nakawake got the inning started with a one-out walk. Brooklyn Araujo then singled and Sidra Montoya walked to load the bases against Fullerton pitcher Lulu Vasquez.
Marissa Garza fouled out for the second out but Kassidy Robinson came through in the clutch, chopping a single over the third baseman to score two runs and give ECC a 2-1 lead. Diamond Lewis then stepped up and singled up the middle to drive in two more runs and put the Warriors up 4-1.
But the lead would not hold, thanks in large part to Hornets right fielder Anabel Mendez. The right-fielder blasted a two-run home run to left-center in the fourth inning to cut the Warriors lead to 4-3 and then she put on an encore in the sixth, blasting a two-run shot over the center field wall to put the Hornets up 5-4.
Pitcher Jessica Lopez did the rest, as she tossed three innings of hitless relief. She walked two and struck out three, shutting down the Warriors offense and helping the Hornets force a winner-take-all game three.
GAME THREE: Fullerton 4, El Camino College 1
For the first time this series, the Warriors scored first as Lewis hit an RBI single off the third-base bag in the bottom of the third inning, scoring pinch-runner Kate Cunningham from second for a 1-0 lead.
Elizabeth Cortez was solid in the circle as she held the Hornets scorless through five innings, at one point retiring eight straight batters.
But the Warriors defense fell apart in the sixth inning and Fullerton capitalized, scoring three times in the inning.
The calamity began as Sabrina Anguiano led off with a single up the middle and then she advanced to third after Mina Nakawake overran the ball, allowing it to go all the way to the wall. Veronica Garza then hit a dribbler back to Cortez, who picked looked pinch-runner Clarissa Hernandez back to third and then made the throw to first, where Kylee Perryman could not come up with the catch, putting runners at the corners.
Vasquez stepped up and hit a sacrifice fly to center and Garza advanced to second on another error by the Warriors. Khloe Lilavois followed with a single up the middle to score Garza and then Lilavois came all the way around to score as she advanced to second on the throw into the infield and would score after Cortez's throw to second went wide of the bag and rolled all the way to the wall, giving Fullerton a 3-1 lead.
Mendoza then capped off her excellent day at the plate with her third home run of the day, a solo shot to left to lead off the seventh inning.
The Warriors season ends with a 37-8 overall record. They won their third straight South Coast Conference, South Division title and made it to the CCCAA Super Regionals for the third straight year.