by Andrew Wheeler, CCCSIA
Bakersfield, CA - The Santiago Canyon College softball team, the #2 seed out of Southern California, won its first-ever softball State Championship on Sunday afternoon with an 8-0 victory in five innings over NorCal #3-seed Sacramento City College. The Hawks became the first team to lose their first game of the weekend and come all the way back to win the State Championship since at least 1996, and the first to win a state title via a mercy rule in five-innings since at least 1999.
Santiago Canyon picked up in the seventh of final game of the weekend right where they left off the sixth. The Hawks exploded for five runs in the bottom of the first. All-Tournament selection and sophomore Emili Olague opened the scoring with a pair of RBI on a single that traveled all the way to the wall in left-center. Two at-bats later, tournament Most Valuable Player Kaitlyn Lanksbury hit a three-run shot over the center field wall to make it 5-0.
In the bottom of the second, Santiago Canyon went on to score one on a bunt double by sophomore Jessica Daniel. Daniel would go on to score a run of her own two at-bats after that thanks to a fielding error by Sacramento City. The Hawks would add an insurance run in the bottom of the third when sophomore Brittany Howe drilled a single back up the middle of the field.
In the win, Most Valuable Pitcher Riley Nahrwold (20-7), gave up seven hits, didn't walk any, and struck out one. Daniel finished 2-for-2 at the plate, while sophomore Jordaen Hicks was 3-for-3 with a pair of scores. The Panthers were paced by sophomore Madison Butcoff and freshman Gabby Ortiz who both went 2-for-3.
Santiago Canyon finishes it's season at 41-9 overall, Sacramento City falls to 36-10-1.
Pitchers (3): Riley Nahrwold (Santiago Canyon); Kali Sargent (Sacramento City); Jostyn Bebout (Sacramento City);
Infielders (4): Samantha Dean (San Mateo); Tobi Salzman (Cypress); Katie Lopez (Sacramento City); Alyssa Sojka (Santiago Canyon)
Wild Cards (2): Emili Olague (Santiago Canyon); Justice Walker (Cypress)
Catchers (2): Manoa Weijgertse (Santiago Canyon); Kaitlyn Leffle (Sacramento City)
Outfielders (4): Ashley Clark (Santiago Canyon); Jessica Daniel (Santiago Canyon); Cheyanna Newman (Sacramento City); Kaitlin Chang (San Mateo)
First Baseman: Gabby Ortiz (Sacramento City)
Utility: Brittney Howe (Santiago Canyon)
Major Individual Awards
Golden Glove: Alyssa Sojka (Santiago Canyon)
Best Hitter: Kaitlyn Lanksbury (Santiago Canyon)
Most Valuable Pitcher: Riley Nahrwold (Santiago Canyon)
Most Valuable Player: Kaitlyn Lanksbury (Santiago Canyon)