Down one run in the top of the third inning with the bases loaded and zero outs against Cerritos College, College of the Canyons pitcher Joy Veloz stepped into the circle.
“I was really nervous, but I knew if they got a hit my defense was behind me,” Veloz said about coming on in a tough spot. “Playoff games are more exciting than regular season games so I came out and gave it my all.”
Getting out of the inning striking out three with only one runner crossing the plate, Veloz set the tone in the Cougars’ 10-5 win against the Falcons at COC on Saturday in the first round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs.
Going five innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and striking out seven, Veloz swung the momentum in the Cougars favor.
In the bottom of the inning with a runner on first and one out, Danielle Chatman stepped to the plate. Jumping on the first pitch, Chatman swung and connected with a ball that landed in foul territory.
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Her next hit was far from foul territory.
Blasting a two-run home run over the left field wall, Chatman tied the game at three for the Cougars.
“I felt really good tying the game for my team,” Chatman said. “It was a really big moment for us because it just gave us momentum to just keep going and keep pushing.”
Scoring another two runs in the bottom of the fourth behind Rena Edward’s sacrifice fly and Katie Clinkunbroomer’s bunt, the Cougars led 5-3 after four frames.
But the scoring didn’t stop there.
In the fifth, Chatman hit a triple to centerfield and didn’t stop running until she reached third base.
”Her strength is just uncanny and her speed and her mind is just incredible.” Wissmath said about Chatman’s talent. “We have a D-1 kid playing for us so it makes it pretty nice.”
After Jordan Vallejo’s sacrifice fly brought in Chatman from third, the Cougars were able to bring in two more runs in the inning with Sienna Vannoy scoring on an error and Kayla Yamane hitting an RBI single.
Canyons led 8-3 after five innings.
In the top of the sixth, the Falcon’s Briana Lopez hit a two-run home run to bring the Falcons within three runs of the Cougars with one stanza left.
Adding another two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on Vallejo’s RBI double, Canyons ran away with the victory.
With the win, the Cougars sweep the series against Cerritos and advance to the second round of the CCCAA Softball Southern Regional playoffs where they will travel to the No. 2 seeded Mt. San Antonio College.