Third-inning spark keeps COC softball win streak alive

College of the Canyons sophomore Heidi Ludy finished her day 3-for-4 with a double a run, a stolen base and two RBIs in helping the Cougars to a 7-2 conference win over Antelope Valley College on Thursday. Ludy leads the club with a .437 batting average. Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
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Bleak weather may have postponed College of the Canyons softball team’s game earlier this week, but nothing has stopped the Cougars bats as of late.

On Thursday against rival Antelope Valley, the Cougars just needed a spark to get it going. That spark came in the third inning and continued for the rest of COC’s 7-2 win that helped Canyons stay unbeaten in Western State Conference play.

With runners on second and third, sophomore outfielder Heidi Ludy lit the fuse the Cougars (11-8 overall, 5-0 in conference) needed after she drove the ball through to centerfield. The single allowed the Cougars to go up 2-0.

“We needed to be a little bit more patient,” said coach John Wissmath. “We needed to start looking for the good pitches and to drive the ball through and that’s what we did in the third inning. We also started to play small ball, which worked.”

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West Ranch product Katie Clinkunbroomer singled to centerfield helped extend the lead to 4-0 in the third. Clinkunbroomer ended the game with two hits and two RBIs.

Ludy went for 3-for-4 at bat, tallying two RBIs and a run.

“I needed to start something for us,” Ludy said. “We needed to score. That was all I was thinking. This was a very important game for us.”

Much of the Cougars’ success on Thursday should also be attributed to pitcher Joy Veloz, who spent some time earlier in the season out with an injury. She pitched for almost seven full innings for the first time Thursday, she said.

She started strong, striking out three Marauders in the first.

“This game was a special game for me,” the Palmdale native said. “I know these girls. I’ve played with them. I was kind of excited to come out here and pitch against.”

Veloz ended the game with nine strikeouts.

“She was very poised, she had great demeanor,” Wissmath said.  “And she threw strikes. We are going to be a lot tougher for teams with (Veloz) on board.”

COC also had runs in the fifth and sixth innings in the victory. Sophomore shortstop Danielle Chatman added two RBIs and a home run for the Cougars.

The Cougars head on the road to Victor Valley on Tuesday for more conference action. The game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

“Every team is going to be tough here on out,”Wissmath said. “We just got to play our game, throw strikes and put the ball in play. If we do that, we’ll be OK.”

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