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The Monarchs’ “mainly hurt” pitchers lead them astray in third straight loss

Defeated by double digits for the second consecutive game, Valley softball continued its losing ways as the Monarchs could not overcome their struggles on the mound.

By Edward Segal, Valley Life Editor

Valley infielder Citlali Mendez (left) attempts to catch the ball in time to tag the Eagles' catcher Hazel Altamirano (middle left) out at second as Monarch catcher Isabel Flores (right) watches from home plate. (Jose Callejas / The Valley Star)

Wild pitching and sloppy fundamentals resulted in another loss for the Monarchs as they could not keep the game under control, falling to the Eagles 11-1.

Dropping their last two affairs due to difficulties on the mound, Valley College softball (4-16, 0-4 WSC East) attempted to re-establish a pitching rhythm, but LA Mission College (15-9, 2-2 WSC East) handed the Monarchs another blowout loss instead.

“As of right now, our bullpen, we’re mainly hurt,” said sophomore reliever Sidney Hernandez. “I was out for two weeks, we have a pitcher whose arm hurts, all of us have tendonitis, so our bodies are kind of just giving out on us, but at the same time, it’s mental. We work every week. Now it’s just on us.”

In the first inning, an Eagles’ runner came home on a wild pitch from freshman pitcher Isabel Ward, showcasing the Monarchs’ struggles on the mound. Another run was added in the second courtesy of an RBI single, placing Mission ahead 2-0.

In the bottom of the second, sophomore right fielder Caitlyn Pineda returned to the plate after a four-week absence due to a hamstring injury. She hit a double into the deep left corner, re-launching her season in dramatic fashion.

“It’s nice to be back,” said the third-year veteran. “I’m trying to be out there. This is my last year [at Valley]. I’m not playing at a four-year and I’m not going anywhere, so these last few games, I’m just trying to give it my all.”

A pair of ground-outs ended the inning before the Monarchs could get on the board, and the Eagles' acrobatic catches and ability to get stops became the theme of the next few innings.

With the score still at 2-0, the game remained close, but the fifth inning blew the game wide open.

Back-to-back base hits to start the frame gave Mission runners on the corners. Freshman righty Jessica Lopez relieved Ward and ended up loading the bases on a hit by pitch, allowing two runners to score on wild pitches as Mission’s lead ballooned to four.

Valley pitcher Isabel Ward (middle) throws a pitch as she attempts to strike out the Eagles' designated hitter (left) during Thursday afternoon's game against Mission College. In 4.1 innings, Ward struck out two hitters while allowing four runs on seven hits, three walks and four errors (Jose Callejas / The Valley Star)

Freshman reliever Amber Basham added to the damage, bringing in three more runners on wild pitches.

Hernandez – the pitcher who cleaned up against Citrus College after six runs were walked in – was then called on to pitch, and finally closed the inning after allowing one run. Down 8-0, the Monarchs dug themselves in a hole they could not climb out of.

The Monarchs got one run back when freshman left fielder Lexus Freire scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a fielder’s choice, but the Monarch’s scoring ended there.

To cap off the blowout victory, the Eagles tacked on a couple of home runs by pitcher Lizbeth Mora and utility player Nikki Santa Cruz, giving Valley another double-digit loss.

“This has been the theme right now, that we can’t get out at the back end of our bullpen, whether it’s a walk, hit by pitch, a wild pitch or we’re not blocking,” said coach Greg Venger. “I told them it was a good game going into the fifth inning. We had opportunities to tie the game up, and all of a sudden you go to the bullpen and all hell breaks loose.”

The Monarchs will be back in action Tuesday at College of the Canyons for their fifth conference game. The first pitch is set for 2:30.


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