By Jesse Muñoz
For The Signal
It’s been a week to remember for the College of the Canyons softball program.
A day after knocking off top-ranked Mt. San Antonio College in the regular season finale, the Cougars had extra reason to celebrate on Thursday, with sophomore shortstop Danielle Chatman named (WSC), East Division Player of the Year to lead a class of 11 all-conference honorees.
Chatman put together another spectacular campaign for the Cougars in 2018, finishing the regular season with a .424 average in addition to a team-leading 10 home runs and 49 RBIs across 39 games. She also swiped 14 bases, scored 39 runs and reached base at a .507 clip, slugging .847 with 27 extra-base hits.
“She was hands down the player of the year,” said COC head coach John Wissmath, who was tabbed WSC, East Division Coach of the Year after guiding the Cougars to a seventh conference title, the program’s 15th overall.
“Danielle was excellent in all facets of the game, and that was shown by the fact she was a unanimous selection for Player of the Year,” added Wissmath.
Chatman is the first COC player to earn Player of the Year honors since catcher Lauren Anderson took home top honors after the 2015 season. In 2016, COC starting pitcher Ashley Russo was named Pitcher of the Year.
COC outfielder Heidi Ludy (.432, 31 RBIs, 39 runs, 25 stolen bases), designated hitter Jordan Vallejo (.339, 41 RBIs, 29 runs), first baseman Sienna Vannoy (.383, 29 RBIs, 37 runs, 15 stolen bases), catcher Lyndra Fenald (.333, 16 RBIs, 10 runs, 10 stolen bases) and starting pitcher Joy Veloz (10-5, 3.10 ERA, 80 strikeouts) were each All-WSC First-Team selections.
Outfielder Rena Edwards (.352, 43 runs, 18 stolen bases), second baseman Katie Clinkunbroomer (.316, 22 RBIs, 37 runs, 20 stolen bases) and starting pitcher Katie Taix (10-4, 2.65 ERA, 53 strikeouts) were named All-WSC Second-Team.
Third baseman Valerie Rivas (.229, 14 RBIs, 10 runs) and pitcher Megan Wilson (5-3, 3.26 ERA, 24 strikeouts) were Honorable Mention honorees.
Canyons (26-14, 16-0), the WSC East Champions, started the week by defeating Barstow College in a 6-2 ballgame that completed the program’s perfect 16-0 run through the conference schedule — a feat that had not been accomplished since 2013.
On Wednesday, the Cougars traveled to Mt. SAC for a game that was originally scheduled for March 10 but had to be postponed due to weather. COC got on the board first with an unearned run in the third inning but couldn’t manage much more.
With the Cougars trailing 2-1 in to start the sixth inning Ludy and Chatman hit back-to-back singles, bringing Vallejo to the plate.
Vallejo worked a two-strike count then unloaded on a ball for a three-run home run that put COC ahead 4-2.
The Mounties manufactured a run in the home half of the sixth, but ultimately came up short in the 4-3 final score.
The home run was just Vallejo’s second of the season but couldn’t have come at a better time. The victory over Mt. SAC, which had been ranked as high as No. 2 in the state in recent weeks, should give COC’s regional ranking a boost heading into the playoffs.
Canyons will learn its postseason seeding and game location later this weekend when the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) releases its Southern California Regional Playoff bracket.
Cougar Baseball Remains a Game Back of Glendale
Canyons will take the field in Friday’s regular season finale a game behind Glendale College in the WSC, East Division standings.
COC (26-12, 15-4) trounced host Victor Valley College 20-1 to win its fourth straight on Thursday, in a game that saw the Cougar lineup knock around the Rams for three home runs and a combined 20 hits.
Calvin Estrada, Blake Doremus and Nick Henry all hit home runs and COC starter Jacob Lopez (8-2) cruised through six innings to get the win. The sophomore southpaw allowed just one earned run and struck out six batters.
Doremus finished the game 4-for-5 with eight RBIs, Estrada was 3-for-4 with three walks, six runs and three RBIs, and Henry went 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs and four RBIs.
The win, while good for COC’s season stats, didn’t bring the Cougars any closer to catching first-place Glendale. The Vaqueros (27-12, 16-0) went to extra innings vs. Citrus College but were able to come away with a 5-4 victory to stay atop the standings.
Canyons will host Victor Valley in the regular season finale at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at Cougar Field.
COC Golf Dominates Field at WSC No. 10
COC had all five players finish in the top-five of the individual standings on the way to a 35-stroke team victory at San Dimas Golf Course on Monday.
The five-man score of 352 turned in by COC represented a season-best for the Cougars, who have now won four straight conference events for a total of eight on the season.
Canyons was followed by Ventura (387), Santa Barbara City College (388), Allan Hancock (396), and Bakersfield (401) in the top five.
Michael Lindgren took home medalist honors with a four-under-par round of 68, narrowly beating teammate Clayton Kucera’s second-place score of 69.
Jones Comerford tied for third with a one-under score of 71. Corey Haase and Clemente Yanes were part of a three-way tie for fifth-place at an even par score of 72.
Canyons will close out the regular season at the 36-hole WSC Finals being played at Crystalaire Country Club in Llano on Monday, April 30.
For more information about the Cougars’ 17 intercollegiate sports programs visit www.COCathletics.com.