(Walnut, CA) Mt. SAC left fielder Candace Haliburton hit a key single to drive in second baseman Gabby Estrada for a 2-1 lead that stood up for the opening win over Santiago Canyon in the CCCAA Super Regional's Friday afternoon (5/10).
A monumental win was accomplished by sophomore pitcher Briana Wheeler (24-1), as she won her 50th game in her two-year Mt. SAC career.
"I felt pretty confident out there (Friday) and I didn't even know that until you just told me about the 50 wins," said Wheeler, as she wheeled the Mt. SAC "Good Luck" cow in to the dugout. "I'm speechless."
With the win, the Mountie (39-5) softball team is one win away from advancing to the state championships next week in Bakersfield.
The best of three series concludes Saturday (5/11) with a noon game and the 2009 state championship team will be honored.
"It's a good win," Mt. SAC coach Ruby Rojas said. "The most important game is (Saturday) and we just have to go out there and attack.
"That was a big hit by Candace (Haliburton) and the defense tightened up after two early errors."
"I feel good right now, but I'm just trying to keep a level head," Ramirez said. "I don't want to get too excited or too down, I just want to stay focused on the job ahead."
In the circle, Wheeler settled down after a first-inning run by the Hawks on an unearned run and retired 18 of 22, while striking out 10. She allowed just four hits in the game. The 10 Ks were the 10th time this season she has struck out 10 or more in a game and now has 207 for the year. The season strikeout total rank Wheeler fourth in the state.
Santiago Canyon (25-17-1) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, scoring an unearned run.
The Mounties took the lead for good in the second inning, sending seven batters to the plate.
Ramirez opened the inning with a single and after the first out was recorded, Estrada singled to right center, sending Ramirez to third.
"I just want to help my team in any way I can," said Estrada, of her RBI single to right field. Estrada scored in the inning and reached third in the sixth on her second hit of the game. "We have to stay focused for our game(Saturday)."
Spencer tied the game, 1-1, with a single down the right field line, scoring Ramirez and sending Estrada to third. Haliburton came up next and gave the Mounties the lead (2-1) for good with a single to left field, scoring Estrada.
"I feel great right now and it's very exciting and I want to make sure we do the little things to get there (state championships)," Haliburton said. "On the hit, it feels great knowing that we took the lead."
Only one Hawks batter reached second in the last five innings.
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