Hornet softball on the brink of elimination after Game 1 loss

Fullerton College’s remarkable season is in jeopardy, as they now have to fight to win two games on Saturday against Cerritos College.
Fullerton sophomore second baseman Jordan Elias looks to turn a double play while Cerritos catcher Nadia Landeros slides into second base during Game 1 of the 3C2A Super Regionals at Fullerton College on Friday, May 10, 2024.
Fullerton sophomore second baseman Jordan Elias looks to turn a double play while Cerritos catcher Nadia Landeros slides into second base during Game 1 of the 3C2A Super Regionals at Fullerton College on Friday, May 10, 2024.
Matthew Gonzalez

Three errors and the failure to score with the bases loaded cost Fullerton College their first game in the Super Regional round of the California Community College Athletic Association softball championship, 3-1 against Cerritos College Friday afternoon at Fullerton College. This marked the first loss for the Hornets since April 20. They now face elimination Saturday, May 11, in the best-of-three series with the Falcons.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, with two runners on and no outs, Hornets sophomore catcher Serina Vue squared up for a drag bunt down the first base line, and got on safely to load the bases. The Hornets trailed 3-1, primed with the opportunity to score and potentially take the lead. Murray then visited the mound and reminded her entire team of the significance every inning in a 3C2A Super Regional game holds.

“Early into the year, we were prone to giving up good games and that’s what I went out and reminded them,” said Cerritos head coach Kodee Murray. “This is that month where we have to shut down and get one out at a time so that we can come back.”

Falcons sophomore starting pitcher Reanna Carranza did just that, as she retired the next three hitters in 1-2-3 fashion with a ground out, a strike out and another ground out to close out the big inning. The number one seeded Hornets missed a huge window that never opened again.

Freshman first baseman Veronica Moore looks to put the ball in play to create a spark offensively. (Matthew Gonzalez)

“We didn’t capitalize on that,” said co-head coach Marian “Speedy” Mendoza. “We knew their corners were brand new so we should have actually bunted, we had speed on the bases.”

The Hornets made an early substitution in the third inning when freshman starting pitcher Macy Brandl was pulled after the Falcons brought in three runs. The scoring started when Falcons sophomore right fielder Jazmine Macias got on base for a stand up double. Macias swung at Brandl’s first pitch, and the ball soared in the air, everyone in attendance quietly assumed it was a home run only to rattle off the left field wall, a foot shy of going over.

Brandl was very aggressive with the 15 batters she faced. After walking the first Falcon of the game, she then threw first pitch strikes to the next seven batters.

“Macy is a very good pitcher, and I feel like we were up there looking for something that we could hit,” said Murray. “We were not trying to put it in a specific place. I thought we did a really good job off of her today and I’m sure we’ll see her again tomorrow.”

Brandl mixed her hard throwing routine by placing the ball more inside the plate. However, her command wasn’t able to stop her from hitting a batter. Both of the runners Brandl placed on base eventually scored from sacrifice fly balls.

“I’m not going to blame it on the pitching, but Macy wasn’t her sharpest today. It’s more frustrating to have the bases loaded and not be able to score because we make some mistakes and that wouldn’t be the first time, said Mendoza. “Having the bases loaded and not being able to score, that’s definitely frustrating considering we’ve been one of the top five teams in the state hitting.”

Hornet freshman outfielder Milene Mendoza puts the ball in play and scorches a double into left field, creating offense for the Hornets. (Matthew Gonzalez)

Sophomore pitcher Allyson Fuentes relieved Brandl and shut down the Falcons, allowing one hit in the 4.1 innings she pitched.

This was a bad time to have a rough outing for the Hornets. The team made three errors on defense, and their high octane offense was unable to produce any runs, as they left nine runners stranded on base. Leadoff hitter and OEC MVP, sophomore second baseman Jordan Elias, went 0-3. Elias is still looking for her first hit of the 3C2A playoffs.

“I think I’ve been trying to press a little bit harder than I should and not let things naturally happen, but I just have to find a way to turn things around,” said Elias.

The Hornets beat the Falcons earlier in the regular season, 8-0 on February 10, at Nancy Kelly Field. The Hornets now look for revenge not only for the loss at Fullerton College, but for being eliminated by the same team they face tomorrow. In the 2023 3C2A playoffs, the roles were reversed as the Hornets took game one from the Falcons only to lose the next two games and get knocked out of the playoffs.

“It’s destiny for us to come in and win the next two,” said Elias.

The Hornets now play two potential elimination games, with the first starting at noon. If the Hornets come out victorious, the two teams will play a win or go home Game 3 just 30 minutes after Game 2 ends.

The winner of this Super Regional round will advance to face the winner between Mt. San Antonio College and El Camino College. Mt. Sac leads that series at the time of publication, after beating El Camino Friday 5-1 at Mt. Sac.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All The Hornet Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *