COC Insider: Cougar softball cruising

College of the Canyons shortstop Danielle Chatman (11) slaps hands with first baseman Micayla Aguilar (20) after lifting an RBI sacrifice fly that scored Katie Clinkunbroomer (4) to tie the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Photo by Jesse Munoz/COC Sports Information

College of the Canyons softball is 3-0 on the season and currently ranked No. 13 in the state, after a trio of convincing victories to begin the 2017 season.

On Wednesday, COC won in walk-off fashion after freshman first baseman Micayla Aguilar launched an RBI-double to break a 4-4 tie and lift the Cougars to a big victory over No. 15 El Camino College (3-1) in the team’s home opener.

“That was a big win for us,” said COC coach John Wissmath. “EL Camino is a good team, and they’re going to win a lot of games this year.”

Aguilar, who finished the game 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI-doubles, was just one of COC’s stars of the day.

MORE: COC baseball surges back from 6-0 deficit

Earlier in the Cougars’ big seventh inning, shortstop Danielle Chatman was able to lift an RBI-sacrifice fly into center field that tied the game. She finished the day 1-for-3 with an RBI and is now batting a team-leading .545 through three games.

Sophomore center fielder Melanie Abzun also had a big day, going 3-for-4 with two runs and a game-tying RBI single. She is currently tied for the team lead with six RBIs and five runs while primarily batting from the leadoff spot.

Second baseman Katie Clinkunbroomer was 2-for-2 with a walk, a run and an RBI single of her own.

Performances like that are part of the reason that Canyons has been able to outscore its opponents 38-11 to begin the season.

COC walloped host Saddleback College 16-3 in the team’s season opener on Jan. 27, behind 16 hits. Four days later the Cougars were at it again, this time downing host Santa Ana College 17-4 in five innings.

The Cougars are batting a combined .442, while getting on base at a .491 clip. Fifteen of the team’s 42 hits have gone for extra bases.

Canyons opened the season as the No. 13 team in the state and the No. 6 ranked team in Southern California, according to the California Community College Fast Pitch Coaches Association state and regional poll, released Jan. 27.

COC will now have a week off before hosting a home doubleheader vs. San Diego Mesa College on Feb. 15. Game times are scheduled for 1 and 3 p.m.

Women’s basketball

The Cougars scored a season-high 96 points and Marina Rojas recorded her fifth straight triple-double to help COC to its third straight win in Wednesday’s conference road game vs. L.A. Pierce College.

COC freshman Morgan Bizzell scored a game-high 26 points to go with her 16 rebounds in a game which the Cougars dominated from start to finish.

Canyons opened up a 20-6 first quarter lead, and by halftime had more than doubled the Pierce point total at 45-20.

In the fourth quarter, COC finished things up by outpacing Pierce 29-7.

Rojas, who has positioned herself in the conversation for Western State Conference Player of the Year, recorded 12 rebounds, 16 assists, 18 points and four steals.

Gissel Sanchez scored 23 points to rank second on the night, and Tasi Ramon shot 8-for-12 to finish with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

COC is currently one win behind Santa Monica College in the WSC, South standings, with three regular season games to play.

Canyons (10-13, 4-1) will next host Santa Monica (17-9, 5-1) at 5 p.m. Saturday in a showdown with major postseason implications.

At halftime of Saturday’s game, former player Leslie Ortiz and current assistant head coach Harlan Perlman will be inducted into the COC Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Perlman is currently in his 25th season as top assistant to head coach Greg Herrick. Prior to coming to COC, Perlman coached at Hart at the junior varsity and varsity levels.

Leslie Ortiz is a two-time conference MVP and All-State selection at the guard position. She helped lead the Cougars to a 30-6 overall record during the 2006-07 season.

Men’s basketball

The COC men’s basketball team battled back from a double-digit deficit, but could not complete the comeback attempt as the Cougars were defeated 83-80 in overtime at L.A. Pierce College on Wednesday.

COC freshman guard Michael Kalu was the high man for the Cougars, finishing the game with 18 points on a 7-of-15 shooting night.

Freshman forward Jason Horosny pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds and scored 14 points. Sophomore Alex Sanchez chipped in with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists off the bench.

With three regular season conference games remaining on the schedule, Canyons (11-14, 1-4) remains in playoff contention but will need to win out while receiving help from the teams ahead of them in the Western State Conference, South standings.

Canyons will next host Santa Monica College (12-12, 4-2) at 3 p.m. on Saturday in the Cougar Cage. Attendees at Saturday’s game are asked to dress in gold, with the first 75 fans in attendance also receiving a special COC men’s basketball ‘Gold Rush’ T-shirt.

General admission is $5. COC students, staff and children under 10 are free.

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