Hornets fight their way into next round of the state softball championships

Top notch pitching and defense prove valuable, as Fullerton moves into the winner’s bracket of the 3C2A State Tournament.
Sophomore outfielder Coco Siono danced her way into the dugout after scoring the games first run against Sierra College on Thursday, May 16, 2024.
Sophomore outfielder Coco Siono danced her way into the dugout after scoring the game’s first run against Sierra College on Thursday, May 16, 2024.
Danielle Rivera

A pitchers duel between two All-Americans, Fullerton College’s Allyson Fuentes and Sierra College’s Kendal Manley, produced the type of game you’d expect. This contest ended in a low-scoring, 2-0 win for the Hornets at West Valley College in Saratoga, about 50 miles south of San Francisco. The former OEC MVP and this season’s OEC Co-Pitcher of the year, Fuentes got the better of her counterpart, advancing the Hornets into the winner’s bracket of the 3C2A State Tournament.

Fuentes and Manley were dominant in the circle early in the game, both going two straight innings without allowing a runner on base.

Sophomore pitcher Allyson Fuentes hits her signature “see you” pose after striking out back-to-back-to-back batters in the first inning. Fuentes went on to strike out four batters in the game and secure the win. (Danielle Rivera)

Fuentes continued into the third inning in the same fashion. However, in the bottom of the inning, sophomore designated player Coco Siono led off the frame by smacking a double down the left field line, all the way to the fence. Siono, who has come up clutch in prior big moments, expressed her desire to spark a rally for the Hornets.

“In the box, my mentality was she’s not going to beat me,” said Siono.

Following the double, freshman left fielder Milene Mendoza struck out and sophomore shortstop Cassidy Hornung grounded out, moving Siono over to third base.

Now with two outs, sophomore second baseman Jordan Elias stepped to the plate. Elias, while already being named OEC MVP this season, was also awarded the Golden Glove spotlight for her position in the entire state earlier in the week. Elias has just managed one hit in postseason play, so pressure was on to produce in this spot. And produce she did.

Sophomore Jordan Elias celebrated from second base with her teammates in the dugout as she secured the first RBI of the game. The captain gave her Hornets the lead against Sierra College. (Danielle Rivera)

Elias took multiple deep breaths in the batter’s box, as the Hornet dugout was consistent with their usual chants in the background. Elias smacked the ball right to third, flipping the pressure onto freshman Wolverines third baseman Lexy Saelee. Saelee’s throw was off target, allowing Siono to score the game’s first run and Elias to take second base.

After the error, the game’s leading hitter, sophomore center fielder Haley Garcia, drilled a single up the middle, scoring Elias and bringing the score to 2-0 in favor of the Hornets. Garcia collected two hits in the game, with Siono and Hornung getting one hit each.

Fuentes continued to be in control, earning the win. In total, she threw six shutout innings, allowing just three hits, no walks, and four strikeouts. Manley took the loss, though the Wolverines used three different pitchers. The starter went three innings, allowed two unearned runs, no walks, and struck out two batters.

Freshman Macy Brandl hits her teammates with a “Let’s Go!” after striking out a batter in the final inning. The Hornets stay in the winner’s bracket, advancing to play the College of San Mateo on Friday, May 17. (Danielle Rivera)

Fuentes’ fellow OEC Co-Pitcher of the year, freshman Macy Brandl, came on in relief to shut the game down in the seventh inning, earning her first save of the season.

The No. 1 SoCal seeded Hornets will face No. 2 NorCal seeded San Mateo (38-5) at 11 a.m. Friday, May 17, back at West Valley College. San Mateo beat Palomar by mercy rule, 8-0 in just six innings.

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