SOCAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Taylor Pierce
OEC MVP: Taylor Pierce
OEC PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Vanessa Ledesma
All-OEC SELECTIONS: Justice Walker, Tobi Salzman, Taylor Pierce, Vanessa Ledesma, Jezz Portillo
CYPRESS, CA – The Cypress College Softball team (40-7, 21-0) ended their season with two tough losses in the CCCAA State Championship in Bakersfield last weekend. The Chargers dropped their opening game of the tournament against Sacramento City (35-8-1) 2-0 on Friday before losing to conference rival and eventual state champion Santiago Canyon (38-7) in their second game 7-2 on Saturday.
Taylor Pierce's absence was felt during the playoffs as the Chargers went to Bakersfield with only two healthy pitchers. Vanessa Ledesma had a sublime performance against the Sacramento City Panthers, surrendering only two runs in seven innings of work. Unfortunately, the offense couldn't provide any support and mustered only two hits altogether as they got shutout.
Ledesma and Ashley Ramirez couldn't contain Santiago Canyon during the 7-2 loss. Ledesma couldn't escape the second inning after surrendering four runs total (two earned) and Ramirez saw Santiago score three more in five innings of work. Even though the Chargers collected nine hits, the girls struggled to take advantage of run-scoring opportunities and only had two runs to show for it. Jezz Portillo (1-for-3, 1 RBI) was able to put the Chargers on the board as she hit a bases-loaded single to left field to score one run.
Despite falling short of a state title, the Chargers had a very successful season. This was the team's second season going undefeated in the Orange Empire Conference (The first coming in 2008) as they captured their 21st conference title. The 2016 State Championship appearance marked the 25th time in 29 seasons that Head Coach Brad Pickler led Cypress to the State Tournament.
Sophomores Justice Walker, Alexis Carmona, Taylor Pierce, Jezz Portillo, and Tobi Salzman have finished their two years of eligibility at Cypress College and are expected to transfer out this season. Key freshman standouts like Vanessa Ledesma, Jenny Vazquez, and Melanie Okazaki are eligible to return next season as well as Alex Castillo, Ashley Ramirez, Emma Walker, Nicole Wise, and Brooke Durand. Redshirt Alexis Zavala is also expected to play for Coach Pickler next season.
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