By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
Less than a week has passed since College of the Canyons had its eight-game win streak snapped at the hands of No. 9 state ranked Santiago Canyon College, but the Cougars have already refocused.
On Thursday, Canyons (17-10, 10-0) needed just six innings to pick up a 9-1 non-conference victory over Santa Ana College (18-11, 11-2). Two days earlier the Cougars were a 13-1 road winner vs. L.A. Valley College in five innings.
"Even though we lost both games, that doubleheader vs. Santiago Canyon last week really showed our girls that they can compete with anyone," said COC softball head coach John Wissmath, referencing the pair of heartbreaking losses that provided his team with a momentary setback. "They know we've still got a long way to go."
COC had its comeback attempt vs. the Hawks fall just short in a 7-6 loss in the first game, then took a two-run lead into the seventh inning of game two before eventually losing 4-2. The Cougars were also playing without two of their key players in Lyndra Fenald and Sienna Vannoy who both missed the two-game set.
Both players returned vs. L.A. Valley and have since had a major impact in helping Canyons get back on track.
Cleanup hitter Jordan Vallejo and Vannoy both recorded RBI-doubles vs. Santa Ana to provide a powerful punch in the middle of the Cougars' lineup. COC's first five hitters combined to go 9-of-14 vs. the Dons while scoring seven runs.
Vallejo helped the lead the way with a game-high four RBIs, to up her team-leading total to 29. She also ranks second in the Western State Conference (WSC) and fifth in the state with 16 doubles, while batting at a .378 clip.
"Jordan has been one of the most consistent hitters on the team, and we need that production," said Wissmath.
Heidi Ludy put together a 3-for-4 day that included a run and an RBI. Danielle Chatman reached base three times and scored a run, while leadoff batter Katie Clinkunbroomer stole three bases and crossed home plate three times.
COC pitcher Joy Veloz (5-2) continued her impressive streak of starts by allowing one run on two hits and striking out four batters over five frames to win her second game of the week.
"Joy is really starting to come into her own," Wissmath said. "She has a confident presence in the circle, throws hard, and has a vicious knuckleball that really keeps hitters off balance."
The Cougars remain in a tight race with Antelope Valley College (25-8, 10-1 in the WSC, East Division standings. COC handed the Marauders their lone conference loss back on March 15. The two teams will face each other once more on April 17, in a game that could decide the conference championship.
But first, Canyons will look to build on its newfound confidence when it hosts No. 2 Mt. San Antonio College at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
COC will round out the week by hosting Santa Barbara City College for a non-conference doubleheader, with those games slated to begin at noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
— Photo by Jayme Thomas/COC Sports Information