By John M. Sherrard
(Walnut, CA) This One is for You Mom! A come-from-behind, 8-4, Super Regional victory over Antelope Valley College on Mother's Day propelled the Mt. SAC Softball team into its 11th California Community College Athletic Association State Championship appearance this week at Bakersfield College.
South No. 2 Seed Mt. SAC (40-3) will face North No. 1 seed College of San Mateo (36-6) in game one on Friday, May 19 at 5:30 p.m.
"We're going to the 'ship," Mt. SAC fifth-year coach Ruby Rojas said.
The Mounties, who won titles in 2003, '05, '07 and '09, will be aiming for a fifth state title since 2003.
Trailing, 4-3, in the sixth inning, sophomore Taylor Jaurique (2 for 3, 2 RBIs) led off with a solo home run to tie the game, 4-4. Sophomores Bree Maikai (2 runs) and Alyssa Rasso, (Cal Baptist commit) reached base on a fielders choice and an error, respectively, and both came home on an error and a wild pitch to extend the lead to, 6-4, and Mt. SAC never looked back.
Mt. SAC advanced to the Super Regional championship last year but lost to Santiago Canyon, the eventual state champion.
"It's a great feeling to know that we've worked so hard to get to this point from last year," Maikai said. "Last year when we lost it was a bitter loss and the sophomores knew how hard we had to work to get there.
"That's what we do best is respond. We don't wait until it's too late to respond. We've lost three games this year and don't want to lose anymore."
Mt. SAC took advantage five Antelope Valley errors in the game, scoring four of the eight runs on miscues and a wild pitch.
Sophomore Aleyah Wilbon (2-4, 2 runs) gave Mt. SAC a 1-0 lead on an outfield throwing error in the first, followed by an infield error allowing Maikai to score in the second.
With the Mounties leading, 2-1 in the fourth inning, the Marauders scored three times to take their only lead of the game, 4-2. Mt. SAC starting pitcher Racqual Espinoza (APU commit), who had allowed only a solo home run through three innings, was replaced by sophomore pitcher Tiffany Kennedy-Cummings. She got the last out of the inning and didn't allow a run the last three innings and struck out six and picked up the win (16th) in relief.
"This team is definitely stacked with pitching," Kennedy-Cummings said. "We both really rely on each other 100 percent."
Kennedy-Cummings and Espinoza have combined for 32 wins this season.
For more information on the CCCAA State Softball Championships, please CLICK HERE.
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For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630