By Ryan Craighead
The LBCC softball team’s shaky defense gave up four runs in the top of the seventh to lose against the visiting Mt. San Antonio College Mounties, 6-2, on Tuesday, April 23.
The loss leaves the Vikings with a record of 24-14 overall and 13-6 in-conference. LBCC is eligible for an at-large playoff bid and await the playoff pairings announcement on Saturday, April 27.
The Vikings’ workhorse, freshman pitcher Candice Shadwell, pitched all seven innings and took the loss. Shadwell has pitched 184 and a third innings in 28 games starting this year with 20 complete games.
“I felt really good, really confident today,” Shadwell said. She felt that she was able to keep batters off balance and guessing while changing speeds and locations.
Walks have hounded Shadwell throughout the season. She has allowed 115 free passes this year, good for second-most in the state. Four out of five batters who reached on the walk for the Mounties scored, accounting for the difference and unearned runs of the game.
The score was tied 2-2 after the fourth inning until the top of the seventh. With the leadoff runner on, Mt San Antonio shortstop Caitlin King laid down a sacrifice bunt to the third baseman, freshman Eileen Rivera, who threw the ball up the first base line. The runner on first scored on the overthrow to put the Mounties ahead, 3-2.
After a walk, Mt. SAC sophomore Vanessa Bracamonte stole second without a throw and scored along with King on a single. Mt. SAC added another run on a RBI single before the half-inning ended.
Mt. SAC used team speed to force Viking errors. The Mounties stole eight bases and reached on a throwing error once. In the top of the second, Mt. SAC designated player Holly Mooring stole third on a walk without a throw, catching the Vikings napping.
LBCC coach Melissa Angel said, “They used their speed wisely. Teams like that outsmart us.”
With runners on first and third, Rivera was unable to make the charging play on a bunt, allowing the Mounties to score and the runner on first to get to third. With runners on first and third again, the runner on first attempted to steal. Sophomore catcher Victoria Padilla threw directly to second baseman Melissa Lepez to start a run-down. When first baseman Lauren Alferos had the ball, the runner on third broke for home, causing Alferos to hesitate and make a poor throw to second. The Vikings got out of the inning when the runner tried to make it to third on the overthrow but was thrown out by left fielder Shanise Compton.
The first hit for LBCC against any Mt. SAC pitcher this year came on a first inning home run by freshman outfielder Jezeree Misaalefua over the center field fence, her fifth of the year.
In the seventh, Misaalefua struck out to end the game with runners on second and third, the sixth and final strikeout victim of Seidel.
For the first time in three tries this season, LBCC had offensive success against Seidel, getting four hits and scoring a run. Seidel leads the state in strikeouts and pitched two no-hitters against LBCC this season, on March 5 and March 28.
The Vikings closed out the season with a 2-1 loss against Palomar on Wednesday, April 24 and finish the regular season with an overall record of 24-15.