COC softball drops crucial double-header

Antelope Valley College's Samantha Arraiga (6) throws to first base after tagging College of the Canyons' Micayla Aguilar (20) out at second during the first of two games on Tuesday. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Candy rained down in the second game of College of the Canyons softball’s double-header against Antelope Valley.

It’s a Marauder tradition for a fan to toss candy to the crowd after a home run. For the Cougars, however, the moment wasn’t as sweet as they fell 7-2 in Game 1 and 10-3 in Game 2 at home on Tuesday, falling four games behind first-place Antelope Valley in the Western State Conference, East Division standings.

“They came here to play,” said Cougars coach John Wissmath. “They had a lot more energy than us. I tip my hat to them. I think they played better than any team I’ve seen this season.”

COC (24-8-1 overall, 10-4 in WSC, East) kept the first four innings of the first game tight. Antelope Valley scored a run in the first inning, but the Cougars struck back in the second with a home run from Sienna Vannoy.

College of the Canyon’s Sienna Vannoy (9) rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the first of two softball games against Antelope Valley College on Tuesday. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

But the Marauders (28-5, 14-0) rattled off four runs in the fifth inning, then one in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Canyons tacked on its final run in the seventh.

“We had one bad inning each game and just never fought back from there,” said COC second baseman and West Ranch grad Katie Clinkunbroomer.

“We tried, but we never came back, so it was just one bad inning every game.”

In Game 2, COC worked up an early lead, fighting to a 3-2 score by the third inning.

Vannoy had an RBI single in the first, Melanie Abzun had an RBI single in the second and the Cougars scored on a balk in the third.

But when Antelope Valley’s Paige Johnson, a Canyon High grad, hit her candy-producing two-run homer in the fifth inning, dealing Canyons a massive blow.

“Heads went down,” Clinkunbroomer. “One hundred percent.”

While COC was silent for the rest of the game, the Marauders scored once in the sixth inning and added five more runs in the seventh.

College of the Canyons’ Melanie Azbun, back, and teammate Alexis Avila celebrate a double play during the first of two games against Antelope Valley College on Tuesday. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Clinkunbroomer, in her first two games back after missing the past 10 due to a lingering hip injury, was one of the few confident batters on the afternoon.

Although she went 0-for-2 at the plate in the first game, she rebounded and went a perfect 3-for-3 in the second with one run.

“She wasn’t scared,” Wissmath said. “I could tell by her aura stepping up to the plate, she wasn’t nervous at all.”

A sweep would have nudged COC closer to a conference title, but with the day’s results, the Cougars will have to finish strong to hold off Citrus in the race for second place.

“For us, I think it was good for us. We needed to get kicked around a little bit, kind of give us a wakeup call and say, ‘Hey, time to get it together,’” said Wissmath.

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