Chargers Keep Championship Hopes Alive; Defeat San Joaquin Delta & El Camino

Chargers Keep Championship Hopes Alive; Defeat San Joaquin Delta & El Camino

WALNUT, CA – The Cypress College softball team (SoCal No. 3) fought off elimination and bounced back from Thursday's CCCAA State Championship Tournament opening loss with two huge wins in Friday's action.

Cypress began the uphill battle in the loser's bracket with a 7-1 victory over San Joaquin Delta College (NorCal No.4). The Chargers followed that up with a 14-10 victory over El Camino College (SoCal No.4), keeping their championship hopes alive.

Sophomore pitcher Hailey Hoffman (W, 14-1) earned both victories for the Chargers in the circle. Hoffman went the distance against Delta, before pitching 6.2 innings of relief against El Camino.

Sophomores Kellee Ross and Sydney McCollum led the Cypress offense. Ross went 6-for-8 with four RBI and two HRs on the day, while McCollum finished 5-for-9 with an RBI and five runs scored. Freshman Destiny Lucero added three RBI and a homer on two hits.

"Last year I didn't get the chance to play, so I've been dreaming of making plays in this situation. I finally came alive," said Ross. "I love feeding off of other people's energy, but it felt good being the one to help get us going."

Facing elimination, with the game tied in the seventh against El Camino, Ross, who started the game with a two-run blast, got the Chargers going in the top of the seventh with a solo shot to left. The Chargers added five more runs in the inning, including three on a bomb to left field from Infinity Laufou.

Cypress totaled five HRs on 19 hits against the Warriors, a postseason record, for the storied Charger program. "Hitting is contagious. We all just came in and hit, hit, hit to help win the game," said Lucero. "We all stayed strong, nobody put their heads down and that's what you have to do to win."

The Lady Chargers will return to CCCAA State Championship action tomorrow at 12:00 p.m., as they take on the winner of San Mateo (NorCal No. 1) and Sierra (NorCal No. 2) at Mt. San Antonio College. Winner will advance to the semi-final at 5:30 p.m.

"This is a lot of fun," added Lucero. "Getting to start on this team as a freshman comes with some nerves, but I tell the team all the time to just have fun. Thirty or forty years from now we won't remember the score of the game or who struck out, all that matters is that we get to play college ball and have fun doing it."

(Release By Wes McCurtis, Cypress College Sports Information)

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