By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
College of the Canyons will take the field in a California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern California Super Regional for a third straight season when the No. 8 seed Cougars travel to face No. 2 Mt. San Antonio College in a best-of-three series beginning today.
The series represents a rematch for the two programs which met twice during the regular season, splitting the series 1-1.
On April 6, Mt. SAC claimed a 1-0 victory over COC at Whitten Field. In that contest, Mounties All-State starting pitcher Briana Wheeler kept the Cougar lineup in check long enough for Mt. SAC to eventually push across an unearned run in the sixth inning, for an eventual 1-0 win.
Canyons (28-14, 16-0), the Western State Conference (WSC), East Division champions, then claimed a 4-3 non-conference victory over the top-ranked Mounties on the final day of the regular season.
That win came by way of a sixth-inning, three-run home run from sophomore Jordan Vallejo that helped lift the Cougars poll position heading into the postseason and set Canyons up for a home best-of-three playoff series vs. No. 9 Cerritos College in last weekend’s opening round of the CCCAA SoCal Regionals.
Led by a strong offensive performance that included COC shortstop Danielle Chatman’s 4-for-4 performance in the series finale, Canyons went on to eliminate the Falcons 2-0 last weekend.
On Monday, Chatman was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) California Junior College South Region All-American First-Team, highlighting a season in which the sophomore also earned California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association (3CFCA) All-State and conference Player of the Year honors.
In all, the Cougars had 11 all-conference selections with outfielder Heidi Ludy also picking up a 3CFCA All-Southern California Team nod.
The Mounties (35-7, 10-2) posted a 2-0 series victory over No. 15 Fullerton College in the opening playoff series and will now be playing in the Southern California Super Regional for the 12th time in the last 15 seasons.
Mt. SAC, which finished as champions of the South Coast Conference, North Division, had eight players earn All-SCC Honors, including Wheeler who was named Pitcher of the Year. Infielder Carissa Felix led the Mounties with a .407 regular season average and collected four hits in the two games vs. Fullerton. Felix is an NFCA All-American and All-State selection for Mt. SAC.
Canyons and Mt. SAC also met in the 2016 Southern California Super Regional, with the Mounties ending COC’s postseason run with a pair of losses.
The action will renew at 7 p.m. Friday in Walnut. Game two is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday. If necessary, a third and final game would follow immediately after.
Men’s Golf Wins Regional Championship
COC won the sixth regional title in program history on Monday, as freshman Jones Comerford fired a second-round score of 69 to lead the Cougars to victory during the CCCAA Southern California Regional Championships at Bakersfield Country Club.
The defending state champion Cougars move on to the CCCAA State Championships for a seventh straight season, marking the program’s 23rd overall appearance at the event, all coming under COC head coach Gary Peterson.
Canyons will be looking to claim the program’s ninth state championship, and fourth in the last six years when action gets underway at Sandpiper Golf Course in Goleta on Monday.
Comerford, the WSC Player of the Year, was also crowned the individual regional championship with his 36-hole score of 143. The combined two-round score left him one-under on the day. That mark was two-strokes better than the score of 145 turned in by both Myoung Kim of Orange Coast College and Matt Rafter of Cypress College, who tied for second-place.
Comerford follows in the footsteps of former COC golfers Sydney Wolf and Will Barnett who won individual regional titles in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
As a team, Canyons finished the day with a five-man, 36-hole score of 747 (374/373) to top the 10-team field by 11 strokes. Cypress (758), Orange Coast (761) and Riverside City College (774) rounded out the top four and will each advance to next week’s CCCAA State Championships in Goleta.
They will be joined by CCCAA Northern California Regional Champion Reedley College, along with Monterey Peninsula College, Chabot College and Sierra College from the north.
The CCCAA State Championships will tee off at 7 a.m. Monday, May 14.
Cougar Track & Field Set to Compete at SoCal Finals
Canyons is sending 12 student-athletes to the CCCAA Southern California Regional Championships this weekend at San Diego Mesa College to compete in a combined 11 events.
Additionally, COC sophomore Stephanie Martinez has already qualified to run at the upcoming State Championship meet by placing third in the 10,000m with a time of 40:57.65 at last Saturday’s SoCal Prelims.
Representing the Cougars’ women’s team at the regional championships will be Sophia Stephan (1,500m) and Takaira Beard (high jump, long jump). Beard will also run alongside teammates Sydni Jordan, Amber Gatewood and Alicia Hurst as part of the 4x100m relay team.
COC’s men’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams will both compete at the SoCal Championships.
Last week the foursome of Leo Lambert, Steven Arrington, Blake Beeler and Slade Cavallaro set a new school record with a time of 3:14.22 to finish second in the event.
The arrangement of Lambert, Cavallaro, Beeler and Calel Christian also placed second in the 4x100m relay at 42.12.
Lambert later qualified to compete in the 400m, moving on with an eighth-place time of 49.25. Cavallaro was an eighth-place finisher in the 400h with a time of 55.22, and likewise will move on. Marcel Sylvester will also get another opportunity to compete after clearing a height of 1.95m in the high jump.
The CCCAA Southern California Regional Champions get underway at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
For more information about the Cougars’ 17 intercollegiate sports programs visit www.COCathletics.com.