Error-filled second inning leads to 19th Monarch loss

Down five in the bottom of the fourth, Valley attempted to start a rally when freshman left fielder Lexus Freire hit a two-RBI double, but the Marauders tacked on six more runs and the Monarchs could not respond.

By Edward Segal, Valley Life Editor

Valley left fielder Lexus Freire (right) swings and misses for the third out of the second inning, preventing freshman infielder Melissa Orozco (left) from advancing to third. In the fourth, Freire connected to send the ball along the right field line, driving home pitcher/infielder Jessica Lopez and catcher Isabel Flores for the Monarchs' only two runs of the game. (Edward Segal / The Valley Star)

Despite freshman left fielder Lexus Freire’s two-RBI single in the fourth, an error-filled top of the second allowed the Marauders to take a 4-0 lead and never look back.

Attempting to avenge their 11-1 loss to the Marauders from March 15, Valley College softball (6-19, 0-7 WSC East) came out of the gate with a 1-2-3 first from freshman pitcher Isabel Ward. But after the efficient start, mistakes in the infield gave Antelope Valley College (21-8, 7-1 WSC East) an early lead and the eventual 11-2 victory.

“I thought Isabel [Ward] played excellent today,” said Valley coach Greg Venger. “She went six innings, had one walk, gave up seven hits and only four earned runs, so I thought she pitched great. If we played defense behind her, then it’s a different ballgame.”

Valley shortstop Téa Carbajal missed the game due to a non-softball-related injury, pushing freshman infielder Citlali Mendez to shortstop and freshman pitcher/infielder Jessica Lopez to second.

Valley freshman Isabel Ward throws a pitch in the game against Antelope Valley College. Through six innings on the mound, Ward struck out two hitters and gave up four earned runs on seven hits. (Edward Segal / The Valley Star)

After an uneventful bottom of the first, a deep hit into right field and an error by outfielder Caitlyn Pineda – when she could not corral the ball – allowed the runner to take third.

A groundball to second, followed by a high throw to first from Lopez, allowed the runner to score. Another hitter took second after singling and finding the base uncovered by the Monarchs' infield. Two more runners scored on a high throw to first by freshman infielder Katelyn Santisteban. A sacrifice fly into right field brought home another Marauders run as the discombobulated Monarchs fell behind 4-0.

The struggles carried over to the offensive end in the second as Lopez struck out swinging on a bouncing ball and freshman catcher Isabel Flores struck out looking. Valley tried to create something out of the inning with runners advancing to first and second on walks, but a strikeout swinging by Freire prevented the Monarchs from scoring.

Keeping the Monarchs at bay in the fourth, Marauders' catcher/outfielder Trinity Holman buried a homer past the left field wall, increasing the Antelope Valley lead to five.

Valley had life in the bottom of the inning when a single down the right field line by Isabel Flores sent Lopez – who reached on a single – to third. A walk loaded the bases with two outs, and Freire laced a line drive into right field to drive in two runs.

“It was good to be the one to score some runs,” said Freire. “I think we just needed to keep our energy up and [have] more hitting practice.”

Antelope Valley catcher/outfielder Trinity Holman prepares for Valley freshman Isabel Ward's pitch. Holman hit a solo home run on this pitch to put the Marauders up 5-0 in the fourth inning. The right-handed hitter batted in two more runners in the sixth before coming home on a fielder's choice to give her team a six-run advantage. (Edward Segal / The Valley Star)

But the efforts were not enough.

Antelope Valley placed runners on second and third in the top of the sixth, allowing Holman to bring them home on a single into center field and make the score 7-2. After stealing third, Holman gave the Marauders their biggest lead of the afternoon on a fielder’s choice.

Freshman right hander Amber Basham relieved Ward in the seventh. The reliever quickly allowed two doubles, the latter into right field, but the throw home from sophomore right fielder Caitlyn Pineda was in time for Isabel Flores to tag the runner out.

However, a wild throw to first from Mendez and a two-RBI single from Antelope Valley infielder Victoria Salas brought home three more runs as the Marauders ran away with the 11-2 victory.

“Sloppy softball,” said Venger. “We gave up three innings of three runs or more, and you’re not going to win any game when you give up three innings of three runs or more. It’s just not going to happen.”

The Monarchs will travel to Citrus College Tuesday at 2:30 before coming back Thursday to play Bakersfield College in their final home game of the season.

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