Striking first on an RBI single from catcher Isabel Flores, the Monarchs were in position to win halfway through the game, but were unable to respond to the Roadrunners’ five ensuing runs.
By: Edward Segal, Valley Life Editor
Despite scoring first on a chilly President’s Day, the Monarchs' offense could not recover from the blows dealt their way in the two innings that followed.
Coming off a 20-5 loss, Valley College softball (2-8) sharpened its pitching and defense early on, not letting Rio Hondo College (7-3) score until the fifth inning. The Monarchs’ lack of depth on the mound and inconsistency at the plate proved to be their fatal flaw as they fell to the Roadrunners 5-1.
Monday’s game looked like it would be another tough battle for the Monarchs from the first pitch. Roadrunners’ outfielder Kaylie Cervantes wreaked havoc early for Valley in the top of the first, sending a double to the left field wall. However, Valley prevented Rio Hondo from scoring.
The next Roadrunners’ batter hit a run-threatening flyball, but it was caught by centerfielder Elizabeth Flores. Cervantes headed to third on contact and could not return to second base in time to tag up, causing a double play.
The Monarchs struggled offensively in the first few frames, but Rio Hondo errors in the bottom of the fourth nudged Valley ahead.
Shortstop Tèa Carbajal hit a line drive into right field and reached first base safely when Rio Hondo’s right fielder dropped the ball. Infielder Melissa Orozco was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. Two at-bats later, catcher Isabel Flores hit a single to score Carbajal for Valley’s first run and give the Monarchs a 1-0 lead.
“We just have to adjust and build off previous hits,” said Flores. “We have to talk to each other, watch the pitcher and adjust.”
Valley’s lead did not last long as in half an inning, starting pitcher Isabel Ward allowed two doubles and a walk, pushing the Roadrunners ahead 2-1.
Rightfielder Lexus Freire was walked in the bottom of the fifth, looking to score more runs for Valley. But a pair of strikeouts and a failed attempt to steal later, the Monarchs ended the inning with zero progress.
Right-handed reliever Sidney Hernandez replaced starting pitcher Isabel Ward on the mound and walked two Roadrunners to load the bases with one out. Another single put the Monarchs down by two, and a double to center field increased the deficit to four.
With only six outs left in the game, Valley had to strike fast or a third-consecutive defeat would be upon them.
The Monarchs were unable to find the spark they needed to reach back into the game. Elizabeth Flores made it to first on an error to lead off the bottom of the seventh, but the following three batters failed to get on base, ending the game in defeat for the eighth time this season.
“We didn’t make the adjustments we needed to make earlier in the game,” said coach Greg Venger. “Even before their at-bats we need to be focused on the sequences and pitches, and who’s seeing what, and talk to the hitters in front of them.”
Valley’s next game is Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. when the Monarchs will host Chaffey College.