Gauchos softball wins season opener

Gauchos center fielder Ariel Carrillo is tagged out as she tries to slide into home plate. Carrillo finished the day 2-2 with 2 RBI. (Michael Grennell)

Michael Grennell

Six days after their season was originally slated to begin, the Saddleback softball team came out swinging in their 6-1 season-opening win over the Palomar Comets.

The star of the game, for the Gauchos, was freshman pitcher Sydney Abounassar. In her first game for Saddleback, she went the distance, throwing seven innings of one run ball. Abounassar struck out one and gave up six hits, only one of which went for extra bases. She struggled through the first inning, giving up three hits and her only run of the day while facing seven batters.
She quickly settled down though, retiring 13 of the next 15 batters, and at one point setting down eight in a row.
Along with a solid pitching effort, the Gauchos bats were on fire as they drove in six runs on 12 hits. Left fielder Tiffany McCracken got the offense started in the first inning, when she connected for a three run homer to left field. McCracken finished the day 2-2, with a home run, two runs scored, four runs batted in, and two walks.
Head coach Nick Trani was impressed by the team’s performance in the win.
 “We dominated. I was worried because they had played a game and we hadn’t, but the girls did a great job,” Trani said after the game.
The next day, Saddleback played host to the LA Valley Monarchs. In a much closer game, the Gauchos managed to squeak out a 6-5 victory over the Monarchs thanks to a walk off sacrifice fly from designated hitter Sarah Ditommaso. McCracken, proving the previous day was no fluke, finished 2-3 with a double and her second homer of the year.
The Gauchos next two home games are scheduled for Wednesday February 6 versus Cerritos, and Wednesday February 13 against Santa Ana College.

Left fielder Tiffany McCracken smashes a three-run home run to left field in the first inning. She finished the day going 2-2 with two runs scored and four RBI. (Michael Grennell)

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