(Bakersfield, CA) For the fourth time in the last six years, the Mt. SAC Softball Team advanced to the CCCAA State Championship with a 3-1 win over College of San Mateo Sunday (5/19) at Bakersfield.
With rain coming down throughout most of the game, the No. 1 South Seed Mounties came from behind on a two-run double down the left field line by third baseman Ciara Granado in the fifth inning, scoring Candace Haliburton and Caitlin Felina for a 2-1 lead.
Mt. SAC could play any one of three remaining teams in the championship. San Joaquin Delta (38-7) will play Palomar (39-6) in a rescheduled game Monday due to the weather. San Mateo will play the winner following that game.
If San Mateo advances, the championship game will be played at 3:00. If Delta or Palomar win, the title game will be on Tuesday.
"This is exactly what we were planning months ago," Mt. SAC coach Ruby Rojas said. "We are playing our game and enjoying the ride. The team that relaxes will do the best."
The Mounties (43-5) scored an insurance run in the seventh inning on a sacrafice fly to centerfield by Granado, scoring Haliburton for the 3-1 lead.
"They pitched me inside again and I was just trying to hit something hard." Granado said. Leading the way for the Mounties was Haliburton (3 for 4, 2 runs, Dbl.).
Both pitchers went the distance as Briana Wheeler won her 27th game against only one loss. Wheeler allowed only three hits and struck out five, while San Mateo (43-3) pitcher Emily McAdams, also went the distance and lost only her second game of the season. Mc Adams is 32-2.
"We're just prepared for this," said Wheeler of the second championship appearance in a row. Both pitchers fought through conditions that became worse as the game progressed.
"It was so cold and windy and raining and was nonstop for two innings. It was a challenge out there because of the mud."
"That last out (to send Mt. SAC to the title game) that first baseman Vicky Gutierrez caught in foul grounds was so big and she went all out to catch it."
Wheeler has now amassed 53 wins in her two seasons at Mt. SAC.
"We trust each other and these games are intense," Mt SAC freshman shortstop Quinn De Avila said. "Coach Rojas always reminds us that we've been here before and we practice this over and over, so it's nothing we haven't faced before."
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For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.