Saddleback’s Shannon Wilkison grabs a pop fly in the game against the Cypress College Chargers. (Sarah Black)
Despite the Saddleback Women’s softball team persevering through rain and nine innings, they lost 8-5 against the Cypress College Chargers and their chance to secure second place in the Orange Empire Conference March 24.
The Gauchos started out strong, scoring two runs in the first inning, to take the lead against the Chargers leading Cypress 2-1, and keeping a one run lead through the fifth inning.
In the top of the sixth, one hit by Olivia Arredondo of Cypress advanced her to third base on a wild pitch. Cypress’ Shelby Dopps walked first and stole second. Soon after Cypress’ Monique Hernandez got a base hit, during which Dopps advanced to third and the first run of the inning was scored by Arredondo.
Brianne Webster walked to first, moving Hernandez to second. The bases were loaded for Cypress as the Gauchos tried to keep their cool, but two more runs and an injured pitcher caused the game to pause while freshman pitcher and first baseman Mandy Gutierrez stepped in for freshman pitcher Chelsea Bertoglio.
Gutierrez quickly took over, finishing the inning by catching a hit by the Charger’s Arren Nunez.
The Gauchos stepped it up when Rachel Watson scored a home run, making the score 5-4. The Chargers left the seventh inning with the first three batters all resulting in hits and catches by Saddleback’s defense.
In the bottom of the seventh Gutierrez hit a home run, evening the score at 5-5, causing the game to go into its eighth inning.
The eighth inning passed by uneventful with no runs scored, but hopes were dashed when in the top of the ninth Cypress scored three runs with a walk and two hits. Saddleback finished the inning with one hit and no runs, the final score ending in 5-8.
“I was feeling great after that [tying hit],” Gutierrez said. It was the first time she’d hit for the team in two games. “I was just glad I got a chance.”
Gutierrez hadn’t pitched since her freshman year in high school, so stepping in for Bertoglio was a struggle.
This game was a slice of revenge against the Chargers for their last win, but ultimately ended in another defeat.
“They’re a good team, but so are we,” Gutierrez said in good spirit.
“It was a tense game,” said Coach Nick Trani. “[The team] gave it all they got.”
While the Gaucho’s defense was strong, their pitching strength wasn’t enough to keep the other teams down.
“It was just two good teams going at it,” Trani said.
The Gauchos took a short break and had a long weekend when their game in Santa Barbara was canceled to due to rain. Trani said they will be using the break to catch up and stay healthy for the next game.
The Gauchos are now 11-8 overall and 8-4 in the OEC.