Hornets slow start burns them in the end against the Dons


Freshmen outfielder Jordan Elias pleads her cases to the umpire that she’s safe after her hit on Saturday April 1, 2023 at Fullerton College against Santa Ana. Photo credit: Yasmin Sotelo

Quinn Cisneros, Staff Writer

The Hornets’ bats failed to wake up during Saturday’s home game and could not execute with the few opportunities they had leaving several on base, falling to the ailing Dons 3-2. This game was a make-up from a rained out game originally scheduled for Friday, February 24.

The top of the first inning had several ups and downs for Hornets freshman starter Dallas Garcia as she was able to put the first two batters away. The Dons then proceeded to load the bases, but Garcia was able to strike out Dons freshman third baseman Payton Samuels to escape the jam.

Fullerton starter Dallas Garcia fights her pitches in the circle for (im waiting for how many inning she played for)
Fullerton starter Dallas Garcia fires in a pitch in the circle. She threw five innings in this game, allowing three runs at home on Saturday, April 1 2023. Photo credit: Yasmin Sotelo

After the Hornets were set down 1-2-3, the Dons would strike like lightning in the second inning to take the early lead scoring two runs off the bat of freshman center fielder Sierra Griego. Garcia would force two flyouts to end the inning, limiting any further damage once again.

In the bottom of the second inning, an unexpected spark for the Hornets appeared. Freshman designated hitter Caitlyn Stear, who had only three at-bats on the season coming into the game, roped an RBI single that scored freshman centerfielder Alyssa Garcia. The Hornets rally fell short with a pop-up that ended the frame.

Stear’s performance was really the only noteworthy performance for the Hornets as she went 2-3 with a pair of singles, one of which being an RBI and accounting for half of the Hornets hits on the day.

“I was just going up to bat thinking how I can help my team, instead of focusing on my own performance. Just thinking about what I can do to win this game for my team and start something,” Stear said.

The Hornets (13-5) tied things up in the bottom of the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly from sophomore left fielder Alyssa Caulford scoring freshman pinch runner Haley Perez.

Freshmen Haley Perez dives in to steal second base against Santa Ana at Fullerton College on April 1, 2023.
Freshmen Haley Perez dives in to steal second base against Santa Ana at Fullerton College on Saturday April 1, 2023. Photo credit: Yasmin Sotelo

The Dons refused to let this one get away from them as freshman shortstop Alyssa Armijo laced an RBI single to right in the top half of the fifth, scoring sophomore left fielder Brittany Van Sickle to take the lead and what would be the game winning run for the Dons (11-13).

This would be Garcia’s last inning of work as she took the loss. Garcia (3-2) finished with a stat line of five innings pitched, three earned runs on seven hits, striking out three and walking one. Freshman pitcher Allyson Fuentes came in relief and pitched excellent going two innings, striking out three, allowing zero runs and three hits.

One has to wonder if the outcome would be different if Fuentes had started the game considering she was named CCCAA Pitcher of the Week this past week. Fuentes had a full week of rest coming into the game.

“We just wanted her to get some work in today. They are a pretty tough team over there granted they are little down this year. They found a way to win. Dallas has to do better in the circle, she will get there. She is a good kid, and she works,” Assistant Coach John Ramirez said.

The Fullerton offense stayed silent in the last three innings of the game producing just two hits. Santa Ana freshman pitcher Katie Neal was strong in her relief role in this game. She got the win replacing the starting pitcher freshman Ale Guzman. Neal (9-11) pitched four shoutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out just one batter.

Freshmen Cassidy Hornung runs to first base after bunting at home plate on April 1, 2023 at Fullerton College against Santa Ana.
Freshmen Cassidy Hornung is safe at first base after her successful bunt on Saturday April 1, 2023 at Fullerton College against Santa Ana. Photo credit: Yasmin Sotelo

The Dons came into the game losing 3 out of their last 4 while the Hornets had won 4 out of their last five. It should be noted this was the Hornets first home loss of the season, which is something Ramirez pointed out postgame saying he felt the team figured it was just another home game and were going to win with ease.

As for Stear, she feels the team can most certainly bounce back from this loss.

“If anything, I think this game will get us fired up for next week and come into next week being able to put in that extra work. Make the adjustments we need to make but you know it’s going to light a fire under us,” Stear said.

The Hornet’s will be back at home on Monday April 3rd at 3 p.m. to face the Santiago Canyon Hawks (11-13).