By Jesse Munoz
For The Signal
Less than a week has passed since College of the Canyons softball had its eight-game win streak snapped at the hands of No. 9 state-ranked Santiago Canyon College, but the Cougars have already refocused.
On Thursday, Canyons (17-10, 10-0) needed just six innings to pick up a 9-1 non-conference victory over Santa Ana College (18-11, 11-2). Two days earlier, the Cougars were a 13-1 road winner vs. L.A. Valley College in five innings.
“Even though we lost both games, that doubleheader vs. Santiago Canyon last week really showed our girls that they can compete with anyone,” said COC softball head coach John Wissmath, referencing the pair of heartbreaking losses that provided his team with a momentary setback. “They know we’ve still got a long way to go.”
COC had its comeback attempt against the Hawks fall just short in a 7-6 loss in the first game, then took a two-run lead into the seventh inning of Game 2 before eventually losing 4-2. The Cougars were also playing without two of their key players in Lyndra Fenald and Sienna Vannoy, who both missed the two-game set.
Both players returned vs. L.A. Valley and have since had a major impact on helping Canyons get back on track.
Cleanup hitter Jordan Vallejo and Vannoy both recorded RBI-doubles vs. Santa Ana to provide a powerful punch in the middle of the Cougars’ lineup. COC’s first five hitters combined to go 9-of-14 vs. the Dons while scoring seven runs.
Vallejo helped the lead the way with a game-high four RBIs, to up her team-leading total to 29. She also ranks second in the Western State Conference (WSC) and fifth in the state with 16 doubles, while batting at a .378 clip.
“Jordan has been one of the most consistent hitters on the team, and we need that production,” said Wissmath.
Heidi Ludy put together a 3-for-4 day that included a run and an RBI. Danielle Chatman reached base three times and scored a run, while leadoff batter Katie Clinkunbroomer stole three bases and crossed home plate three times.
COC pitcher Joy Veloz (5-2) continued her impressive streak of starts by allowing one run on two hits and striking out four batters over five frames to win her second game of the week.
“Joy is really starting to come into her own,” Wissmath said. “She has a confident presence in the circle, throws hard, and has a vicious knuckleball that really keeps hitters off balance.”
The Cougars remain in a tight race with Antelope Valley College (25-8, 10-1 in the WSC, East Division) in the standings. COC handed the Marauders their lone conference loss back on March 15. The two teams will face each other once more on April 17 in a game that could decide the conference championship.
But first, Canyons will look to build on its newfound confidence when it hosts No. 2 Mt. San Antonio College at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
COC will round out the week by hosting Santa Barbara City College for a non-conference doubleheader, with those games slated to begin at noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Women’s Tennis Wins Final Home Match
COC played the final home match of its inaugural season on Thursday, earning a decisive 7-2 conference victory over Victor Valley College to end a five-match skid and conclude the regular season on a high note.
Thursday’s match had originally been scheduled for March 22 but was postponed due to inclement weather. That turned out to be a bit of good fortune for Canyons, as the Cougars will now be riding a victory into this weekend’s conference championships.
COC won three of four singles matches and split its two doubles matchups. Victor Valley forfeited a total of two singles and one doubles match for a final 7-2 score.
Leilani Figalan and Brienna Best both blanked their opponents, while Jenny Cranert was nearly perfect with set scores of 6-0 & 6-2. Sheena Pahoyo-Hernandez and Ruth Kedrowski added an 8-1 doubles victory.
Canyons (4-12) will continue its inaugural season by competing in the two-day WSC Championships Friday and Saturday at Ventura College.
Two Cougars Finish Top-10 at SoCal Heptathlon Championship
COC freshmen Takaira Beard and Megan Carbajal finished eighth and 10th, respectively, at the two-day Southern California Heptathlon Championship hosted by Cerritos College earlier this week.
Beard, who attended Valencia High School, was the top finisher for Canyons after accumulating 3,451 event points. Her performance was highlighted by a first-place finish in the high jump with a leap of 1.61m. She also placed seventh in the shot put (8.21m), fifth in the 200m (27.12), tied for fourth in the long jump (4.88m), eighth in the javelin (25.02m) and fourth in the 800m (2:31.08), but suffered a disqualification in the 100h.
Those numbers earned the Cougars a point in the women’s team scores at the upcoming California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) SoCal Championships on May 12 and will keep Beard in contention for a trip to the State Championships May 18-19 in Bakersfield.
The top six competitors from both the North and South regions earn a qualifying bid to the state meet. However, in the absence of six automatic qualifiers from the North, Beard could still snag one of the final qualifying spots.
Carbajal, who also attended Valencia, ended day one in ninth place before eventually finishing the event in the No. 10 spot with 3,241 points. She placed seventh in the 100h (17.63), eighth in the high jump (1.40m), 10th in the shot put (7.87m), 12th in the 200m (29.06), seventh in the long jump (4.71m), 11th in the javelin (19.30m), and ninth in the 800m (2:46.32).
Canyons Golf Cruises to 14-stroke Conference Victory
COC won its seventh conference event of the season on Monday, this time carding a season-low, five-man score of 366 at Santa Maria Country Club to take WSC No. 9 on Monday.
Freshman Jones Comerford led the field with a three-under-par score of 69 to earn medalist honors for the third time in four weeks. Comerford, who hails from Australia, also took top honors at last week’s WSC tourney at Spring Valley Lakes Country Club in Victorville.
“Jones arrived at COC with a highly touted resume of top-flight tournaments and very low scores,” said COC head coach Gary Peterson. “Now that he has settled in, those scores are only going to go lower with many great rounds to come.”
Michael Lindgren finished tied for second with his even par round of 72 to help put Canyons in control. Corey Haase (74), Clayton Kucera (75) and Jack Roycroft (76) finished just a few strokes off that pace to finalize the Cougars’ scores.
Those marks helped COC to a 14-stroke win over event host Allan Hancock College (380). Glendale College (386) finished in third followed by Santa Barbara City College (396) and Ventura College (397) in the top five.
For more information about the Cougars’ 17 intercollegiate sports programs visit www.COCathletics.com.