By Andrew Wheeler
Citrus College Sports Information Coordinator
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – For the ninth time in program history, the Mt. San Antonio College softball team has made it to the final day of competition in the California Community College Athletic Association. The Mounties bounced back from their loss to Cypress College earlier in the day, and advanced to championship Sunday on the back of sophomore pitcher Tiffany Kennedy-Cummings in a 9-2 win over College of San Mateo on Saturday night.
Mountie Sophomore Taylor Jaurique got the scoring going with a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the first. Sophomore Bre Makai would follow that up in the bottom of the third, with a three-run inside the park home run. With an early lead at her back, All-State selection Kennedy-Cummings (18-2) was impressive early on. Kennedy-Cummings allowed just two base runners through the first three innings, with both coming via walk, and struck out five batters in the process.
"She [Kennedy-Cummings] bounced back tonight. It was important for her to come back strong after the Cypress game this afternoon, and she was really good," said Mt. San Antonio College Head Softball Coach Ruby Rojas. "She did a good job of keeping San Mateo off balance, and then we had Rocky [Racqual Espinoza] close it out for us."
San Mateo would temporarily find an answer to Kennedy-Cummings in the top of the fourth inning when sophomore Jordan Davis hit an RBI double down the left field line and freshman Lauren Quirke lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 2-4. That would be the only runs of the game for the Bulldogs however as Kennedy-Cummings added three more K's over her final two innings of work, and allowed just three more hits.
In the bottom of the fourth, with runners on first and second Mt. SAC caught a huge break. Jaurique would hit a single to left field, but on the relay back to the infield San Mateo's Quirke tried to catch sophomore Kayla Sok who had briefly overrun second base. Quirke's throw would hit the dirt just in front of second base and roll all the way to the right-center field fence, allowing everyone to score and giving the Mounties a 7-2 advantage.
Mt. SAC would close out the game when sophomore Carissa Felix scored in the bottom of the sixth on a wild pitch. Sophomore Kayla Sok would score a few pitches later when sophomore Jasmin Orozco hit an RBI groundout back to the pitcher.
"It's been a team effort all year long. It what it's all about," Rojas said. "We don't just rely on one player. It takes everyone collectively. It's why we have 21 athletes on our roster, because it takes all 21 athletes to win."
In their previous eight trips to championship Sunday, the Mounties (42-4) have won four state titles and claimed four runner-up finishes. Mt. SAC will take on SoCal #1 Cypress College at 12:00 PM. If the Mounties are to win a fifth CCCAA championship, they would have to knock-off the Chargers twice on Sunday. The 12:00 PM showdown will be the fourth meeting between the two schools this year and the second this weekend.
"Tomorrow it's all about fundamental softball," Rojas said. "We know they're going to be aggressive, and we're going to have to be aggressive too. They're a good team, and we're a great team too. We're just going to go toe-to-toe and whoever plays the best that day is going to win."