(Walnut, CA) Trailing 3-0 in the fourth inning, the Mt. SAC Softball Team scored five runs and never looked back in route to an opening game, 5-4 CCCAA Super Regional win over College of the Canyons Friday night.
The best-of-three series continues Saturday with game two at 3:00 pm. The Mounties are now one win away from advancing to their twelfth state championship tournament appearance in the last 15 years.
Sophomore shortstop Carissa Felix started the hit parade in the fourth with a solo home run to open the inning. Eight batters later the Mounties had a 5-3 lead.
"Our coaches really motivate us to bounce back," said Felina of the come-from-behind win. "They're a huge part in how we play."
Catcher Michelle Santiago (2 for 3, 2 RBIs) led the Mounties with two hits, the first which was a bases-loaded, two run single in the inning that tied the game 3-3.
"I haven't loved softball this much in a while," Santiago said. "I'm on cloud nine and it was just a huge win.
"My teammates have been so supportive of all of us this whole year. We always think we're going to win no matter what."
After two outs, Mt. SAC second baseman Amanda Esquivel reached base on a dropped ball by the Cougars' first baseman, scoring Banales and Santiago to take a 5-3 lead.
Mt. SAC (36-7) pitcher Briana Wheeler took over from there retiring nine of the last 10 batters, which included five strikeouts. The only blemish was a solo homer by Canyons (28-15) to close within a run, 5-4.
"My changeups and screwballs were on (Friday) and seemed to fool them," said Wheeler, who improved to 23-5 and struck out 10 batters.
"In that inning (fourth), that lit their fire scoring the five runs after allowing two runs in the third for the 3-0 advantage."
Coach Rojas knew how important that five-run inning was for the Mounties.
"Hitting is contagious, energy is contagious and momentum is contagious," said Rojas of the five-run inning.
"This is the most exciting time of the year and (Saturday) we have game two."
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For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.