Cypress, CA - The Cypress College softball team (13-1, 7-0) came away with a close 10-8 victory over Santiago Canyon (16-4, 4-3) on Wednesday afternoon to remain in first place in the Orange Empire Conference.
Taylor Pierce was awarded the win (7-1) after giving up four runs in five innings of work while Ashley Ramirez earned her second save of the season. Santiago's Riley Nahrwold (6-3) took the loss after giving up five runs in four innings of work. Cypress' Jenny Vazquez and Justice Walker each went two-for-three with three RBI while Tobi Salzman added two hits with two RBI.
The Hawks struck first in the second inning with a runner on second when Alyssa Sojka belted a double to left field to give Santiago a 1-0 lead. They extended their lead the following inning with a runner on second base when a throwing error by Taylor Pierce off a routine bunt brought in their second run.
With runners on first and second, Sophomore Tobi Salzman sparked a four-run rally in the third inning with a bloop RBI single to left field to bring home one run. After Pierce was hit by a pitch, Jezz Portillo knocked an RBI single to shallow left to score another run. Santiago pitcher Riley Nahrwold gave up another run after hitting Jenny Vazquez, and Justice Walker capped the rally with a double to deep center field. Alexis Carmona set the Chargers up in scoring position in the fourth inning by stealing second base after a walk. During her steal attempt, the second baseman Alyssa Sojka misread the pickoff throw and saw the ball travel to center field. Carmona advanced to third base to set Melanie Okazaki up for an RBI attempt. Okazaki capitalized with a sacrifice fly to score the run, giving Cypress a 5-2 lead.
Santiago refused to go away, striking back in the fifth inning with a two-run rally. After Brittney Howe got on base with a walk, the Chargers misplayed a sacrifice bunt attempt when Melanie Okazaki covered first base and bobbled a throw from Tobi Salzman to put runners on first and second. After the two runners advanced on a fielder's choice, Howe scored on a wild pitch to cut the Chargers' lead 5-3. Christine Woodling hit a sacrifice fly to left field to cut the gap to a single run. The Chargers answered back in the same inning with a two-run rally of their own. After Jezz Portillo walked to lead off the inning, Jenny Vazquez crushed a triple to the right field gap to extend the Chargers' lead. Justice Walker followed up with a line drive single to center field to give Cypress a 7-4 lead.
Melanie Okazaki opened up the sixth inning with a triple. Tobi Salzman brought her home with a hard-hit single to center field. Amanda Toledo pinch ran for Salzman and advanced to second base on a passed ball. After a walk by Taylor Pierce, Jezreel Portillo advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt and Jenny Vazquez brought one home with a soft single to left field. Pierce scored off a fielder's choice to give Cypress a 10-4 lead.
The Hawks didn't leave quietly in the final inning, putting on a rally against relief pitcher Vanessa Ledesma. With one out, Jordaen Hicks and Jessica Daniel hit back-to-back singles. Emili Olague capitalized with an RBI single and Manoa Weijgertse kept the momentum going with another RBI single. Kaitlyn Lanksbury crushed a double to center field to bring in two runs, cutting Cypress' lead 10-8. With a runner on second, Coach Brad Pickler called Ashley Ramirez out of the bullpen to close the game out. After striking out the next batter, Ramirez gave up a single to put runners on first and third. However, the freshman calmed the storm by forcing a grounder to third to close the game.
Cypress will return to action against Santa Ana at home on Friday, March 11 at 2:00 pm.
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