No. 3 El Camino softball team struggles early but timely hitting leads to a win over No. 6 Antelope Valley College

Nerves got the best of the El Camino softball team in the first inning, but solid pitching and timely hitting propelled them to a victory and a spot in the next round of the California Community College Athletic Association Super Regionals.

No. 3 seeded EC beat the No. 6 Antelope Valley Tigers, 6-3, at Mt. San Antonio College on Friday. EC’s win also broke the Tigers’ 27-game winning streak.

Sophomore starting pitcher Haley Reed allowed two runs on three hits in the first inning, but she kept her cool and only allowed one more run on three hits for the rest of the game.

“I think she kept her composure,” freshman catcher Ashley Machado said. “She didn’t really let (the early runs) get to her.”

Despite the team’s early struggles, EC coach Jessica Rapoza was not worried about her team and how they would perform.

“There was a little bit of nervous energy right away,” Rapoza said. “I knew once we settled in we’d be able to manufacture some runs.”

In the third inning, back-to-back singles by freshman right fielder Karla and sophomore left fielder Kattya Calderon caught the AVC pitcher off-guard and threw her off her game. Machado later hit a triple that allowed the Calderon sisters to score and tie the game at two.

“It was fun (hitting behind my sister,” Kattya Calderon said. “We came in prepared (and) we hit the ball pretty well.”

In the bottom of the third inning, an error by the AVC catcher allowed Machado to score EC’s third run of the game. In the bottom of the fifth, the AVC catcher made another error that let Kattya Calderon score the EC’s fifth run, the eventual game winner.

No. 3 EC will face the No. 2 Mt. San Antonio Mountaineers in a best-of-three series on Saturday at Mt. SAC. The Mountaineers are currently on a 16-game winning streak and have yet to lose at home.

Game one will take place at 3 p.m., followed by game two at 5:30 p.m. Game three will take place at 8 p.m., if necessary.