Orange Empire Conference player-of-the-year freshman infielder Christina Bolin walks to home plate to meet her teammates and discuss their next move. (Sarah Black)
In their final regular season game the Saddleback College softball team won a 4-2 victory over Fullerton College at Saddleback last Wednesday.
Saddleback ended their regular season ranked third in the Orange Empire Conference, with a 20-13 overall record and a 14-7 record in OEC play. The Gauchos also finished the season ranked seventeenth in the state and ninth in Southern California.
Both teams were scoreless until the fourth inning when Fullerton took a 1-0 lead. With Niki Heida on first base, Fullerton’s shortstop Melissa Meyers attempted a bunt, but Saddleback catcher Ashley Welsh was able to scoop up the ball and throw out Meyers at first base.
Gaucho first baseman Mandy Gutierrez then tried to throw out Heida as she advanced to third base, but she overthrew the ball resulting in an error and allowing Heida to reach home plate.
During the Gauchos next at bat in the bottom of the fourth inning, a two-run home run by Saddleback second baseman Nicki Jacobucci gave the Gauchos a 2-1 lead.
The Hornets evened the score at 2-2 when Paridyse DeViney hit a single to left field allowing Ashley Zeidman to score in the top of the fifth inning.
After the game went into extra innings, the Gauchos seized their victory when the Orange Empire Conference 2011 player of the year, freshman shortstop Christina Bolin stepped up to the plate in the ninth inning. Bolin smashed a two-run home run to left-center field, bringing in Emily Herrmann and giving Saddleback a 4-2 win.
OEC softball player of the year and first-team all OEC honoree Bolin led the conference with a .505 batting average, earned 11 home runs, and crushed Saddleback’s extra base hit record by earning 38 extra base hits.
Freshman pitcher Chelsea Bertoglio also made first team all OEC, and freshman pitcher Mandy Gutierrez and sophomore outfielder Shannon Wilkison received second-team honors.
The Gauchos will face Grossmont College in a three-game series in the first round of the California Community College Athletic Association’s Southern California regional playoffs, beginning this Saturday at 2 p.m. at Grossmont. The winner of the series will advance to the Super Regionals on May 13-15.