Pitcher throws complete game to help softball team earn conference win

Sparked by a sixth-inning rally, the El Camino College softball team batted through the entire lineup, to come away with an essential conference win against the Vikings.

The Warriors (23-12, 12-6) improved to 15-2 at home with a 7-3 victory over Long Beach City College (19-17, 9-8).

“(The win) was big for our team morale,” Warriors’ coach Jessica Rapoza said. “We played a tough team on (Tuesday) and to not come away with the win was a little disheartening, so getting out here and playing another good team in (LBCC), it was a big win for us.”

The Vikings looked sharp on offense early and opened up the scoring with two runs in the second inning.

The Warriors answered back by scoring two runs in the bottom of the second inning on a throwing error at first base after a hit from freshman catcher Brigid Antonelli.

“We did pretty good at the plate today,” Antonelli said. “We made big adjustments (in the sixth inning), we started our swings a lot earlier and made good contact on the ball. The umpire was a little tight today, but we were able to work with it.”

Long Beach regained the lead in the fourth inning with a sacrifice-bunt that scored a runner from third base.

El Camino never lost focus, even after a pitching change for LBCC, and took a four-run lead heading into the final inning.

The Warriors’ defense got the job done backing up freshman pitcher Natalie Francis by keeping Long Beach hitless in their final at-bats.

Francis pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on six hits. The victory improved Francis’ record on the season to 13-6.

The Warriors’ bats earned nine hits in 27 at-bats, while the Vikings finished with six hits in 26 at-bats.

Antonelli led the offense with two hits in four plate appearances. Freshmen second baseman Kassandra Hernandez, third baseman Maleigha Quintero, right fielder Kattya Calderon and pitcher Haley Reed all doubled for their only hits in the game. Freshmen center fielder Raelani Camez and left fielder Taylor Richter also had one hit each.

“(The team) did good adjusting to their pitches, because we were swinging too late,” Reed said. “Our defense did really well backing up Natalie, and we all played with heart out there today.”

The Warriors will host conference opponent, Pasadena City College (20-16, 9-9), on Tuesday at 3 p.m.