BAKERSFIELD - In what was a wild and wet weekend up in California's Central Valley, the defending CCCAA State Softball Champs, Mt. San Antonio College, came out on top again, going back-to-back for the first time in their program's storied history. The Mounties jumped out to a big lead against Palomar College, and then held on late in a 7-4 victory that made Mt. SAC the first back-to-back State winner since 2011 and 2012.
After having to take yesterday off, the Mounties showed no signs of rust from the jump. Mt. San Antonio would get a leadoff double, Palomar error, and walk to load up the bases to start the game. That brought sophomore Vicky Gutierrez to the plate. Gutierrez would end up fouling out to the catcher up against the netting towards the third base side, but it was sophomore Candace Haliburton who would make the heads up play on the at bat. With no one covering home Haliburton broke for the plate and beat the Comet catcher back to the dish to give the Mounties a 1-0 lead.
With runners on second and third and just one out, the Mounties would load the bases back-up, but Palomar freshman Catalina Aguilar who came in for relief after the second walk of the inning was able to minimize the damage and keep any other Mountie from crossing the plate.
Palomar would tie the game up in the bottom of the second inning when sophomore McKenna Crawford hit a single to center field. Freshman Taylor Riley, who was standing on second, would race home on the hit, making it 1-1 momentarily.
The score would stay tied until the top of the fifth when the Mounties exploded for five runs. Haliburton and sophomore Ally Longtree would lead the inning off with back-to-back bunt singles, which brought the red-hot sophomore Ciara Granado to the plate. Granado looked at a few pitches before absolutely exploding a ball over the center field fence. Gutierrez would follow that up with a solo shot in the very next at bat, only to see freshman Quinn De Avila drive in another run with an RBI triple to right. Sophomore Gabby Estrada would add an RBI base knock shortly thereafter, and when it was all said and done Mt. SAC had a 7-1 lead.
In the bottom half of the fifth Palomar would get two runs back off the bat of sophomore Sarah Fisher who launched a two-run home run to right field, and then one more in the bottom of the sixth on a double down the left field line by Crawford that brought in Riley and made it 4-7. That was the last threat by either team.
In the win, Mt. SAC (44-5) was paced by sophomore starting pitcher Briana Wheeler (28-1). Wheeler, the Most Valuable Pitcher of the CCCAA State Championships for the second year in a row, surrendered a weekend high four runs, but also struck out four batters and walked none as she improved to 4-0 on the weekend. Granado, would be named the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament, for the Mounties after going 2-for-2 with three RBIs and a pair of walks on Tuesday afternoon. Granado hit .500 for the weekend and led the tournament with 8 RBIs. Mt. SAC shortstop De Avila was named the Gold Glove winner after being perfect at the position on the weekend.
For Palomar (41-10), Crawford would finish the day 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. Fisher, who was named the tournament Best Hitter with a weekend best .588 average and weekend best .708 on-base percentage, finished just 1-for-4 with the home run.
|2019 CCCAA State Softball Championships Awards|
|Most Valuable Pitcher||Briana Wheeler||RHP||So.||Mt. San Antonio|
|Most Valuable Player||Ciara Granado||3B||So.||Mt. San Antonio|
|Best Hitter||Sarah Fisher||3B||So.||Palomar|
|Golden Glove||Quinn De Avila||SS||Fr.||Mt. San Antonio|
|Pitcher||Danielle Reyes||RHP||So.||Sacramento City|
|Pitcher||Delanie Pamplin||RHP||So.||San Joaquin Delta|
|Pitcher||Briana Wheeler||RHP||So.||Mt. San Antonio|
|Infielder||Mikaela Ferreira||2B||Fr.||San Joaquin Delta|
|Catcher||Riley Donovan||C||Fr.||College of San Mateo|
|Catcher||Adriana Ramirez||C||So.||Mt. San Antonio|
|First Base||Kayla Rooney||1B||So.||San Jose City|
|Wild Card||Ciara Granado||3B||So.||Mt. San Antonio|
|Wild Card||Jillian Zamora||2B||Fr.||Palomar|
|Utility||Amanda Weitenhagen||RF||Fr.||College of San Mateo|
|Outfield||Ally Longtree||CF||So.||Mt. San Antonio|
|Outfield||Candace Haliburton||LF||So.||Mt. San Antonio|