Valley loses close one after coach gets boot

Updated: Mar 20, 2019

The Lady Monarchs come up short in the bottom of the seventh inning, losing 6-5 on their home field to their rivals College of the Canyons.

By Vicente Vitela, Staff Writer

Taken by Apet Sukiasyan

The Lady Monarchs softball team lost to College of the Canyons 5-6 in the last inning without head coach Greg Venger who was ejected in the bottom of the fourth after arguing a call at first base.

“Nothing changes: we keep battling, and we will come back,” said assistant coach Andrea Contreras on what she told the girls after Venger’s ejection.

Valley hosted a game that had the feel of a heated rivalry like the Dodgers vs. Giants, as these teams have been long-time rivals. Valley entered play with a 9-3 record and was first place in their division when they squared off against the Cougars, who are always playoff contenders. Hannah Moulton, the Monarchs ace, would get the ball for this one.

“We will come out hungry, aggressive and prepared,” said coach Contreras before the game.

Moulton kept the Cougars scoreless in the top half of the first despite allowing the first two batters to reach base safely.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the first, Valley shortstop Belinda Rivera hit an RBI single over the second baseman. And with two outs, the Monarchs’ hottest hitter Destiny Velasquez would blast a 2-run single to the left-center gap, giving the Monarchs a three-run lead at the end of the first.

“We still got to work more on scoring runners when they’re in scoring position,” said Venger after the game, reflecting on where the team needs to improve.

The Cougars, however, would not go away quietly. After two runners would reach base safely with nobody out, a pair of singles and a hard grounder up the middle would knot the game at 3.

Monarch Lauren Lau delivered the go-ahead run, when she grounded out to short, which sent her teammate across the plate, giving Valley a 4-3 lead at the end of the third.

The Cougars would load the bases at the top of the next frame. After a groundball to short, the Monarchs attempted a 6-5-3 double play; however, the runner at first was called safe, and coach Venger argued the call.

After less than 30 seconds, the umpire ejected Venger from the game, and he was forced to leave the field. In addition, Venger would be suspended for the next contest against South Western College. Assistant coaches Contreras and Nicole Toven took over coaching duties for the Monarchs.

“Are you freaking kidding me?” said Venger after the game when asked about his reaction to getting ejected from the game.

Moulton was able to get the last out of the inning, leaving the score 4-4 heading into the bottom of the fourth.

With a scoreless fifth inning and nothing happening in the top of the sixth, the Monarchs would get a runner aboard thanks to a one-out single by Elizabeth Pineda in the bottom of the sixth. Two pitches later, Pineda stole second, putting herself in scoring position. Ashley Acosta would clutch up for the Monarchs, delivering a double to right-center, giving Valley a 5-4 lead heading into the final inning.

A leadoff walk for the Cougars would put the tying run aboard, and after a sacrifice bunt moved the runner into scoring position, Sierra Boyajian would hit a RBI double to left center, tying the game at 5 . With two outs, and the go-ahead run at second, Kaitlyn Post would hit a double to right giving COC a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.

In the Monarchs’ last at bat, Velasquez was hit by a pitch, and Ericka Tzciz would hit a liner off the short stop’s glove, which gave the Monarchs two runners on with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position with one out, Valley College would have two chances to tie or win the game.

Unfortunately, a strikeout looking and a groundout back to the pitcher would end the Monarch’s chances, giving the Cougars the 6-5 victory.

“It’s only one game, and we will make better adjustments next time, and we’ll learn from this,” said coach Contreras.

This loss would snap the Monarchs four-game winning streak, and after a 5-8 loss to South Western College, the Monarchs now sit at a 9-5 record and third place in their division.