COC softball shuts out AVC  

Canyons pitcher Nichole Muro (2) serves a pitch during the second inning of Tuesday's game against Antelope Valley College on April 2. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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College of the Canyons pitcher Nichole Muro came in clutch on Tuesday looking for her first shutout of the season. 

Muro was key in the Cougars’ 4-0 win over the visiting Antelope Valley College on Tuesday as she held the Marauder offense at bay, throwing the Cougars’ first one-hitter in seven years. 

The pitcher found herself in three two-on jams, two of which were with just one out, but worked out of every single one. Muro stranded eight Marauder base runners and finished the day with five strikeouts, five walks and no runs. 

Canyons coach John Wissmath has utilized Muro more as of late in hopes of having the freshman and sophomore Lexy Angulo ready for the final stretch of the season. 

“We’ve put her as the lead girl and I just really feel that it’s given her the confidence to go, ‘Hey, I can go do this,’” Wissmath said. “She did fall behind a couple of times and struggled a couple times but just with a couple batters. To throw a shutout was absolutely great against a good Antelope Valley team.” 

As great as the pitching was, Wissmath gave all the coaching props to catcher Gigi Garcia, who called the game for Muro. 

The COC offense backed up its pitcher and helped earn her the win with some timely hits. The Cougars were patient at the plate and started attacking earlier once Wissmath figured out the umpire’s zone. 

Canyons shortstop Brooke Petretti (8) runs to home plate during the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game against Antelope Valley College on April 2. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

“I thought we did a nice job at the plate,” Wissmath said. “We were patient. I knew (AVC pitcher Helena Loera) was gonna throw a lot of strikes and be around the zone. We like to try and wait a little bit at least the first couple of innings until we can get through before we start chasing that pitch.” 

Canyons scored two runs in the fifth inning off a fielding mishap in the AVC outfield. Two outfielders collided on a deep hit from Cougars freshman Brooke Petretti, which allowed the third and fourth runs to come in. 

Canyons freshman Nylah Beba (18) runs to home plate during Tuesday’s game against Antelope Valley College on April 2. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Garcia brought in the first run of the day with an RBI single to center in the first inning. Garcia’s first contact was fouled off to right and just out of the reach of outfielder Jolene Miramonte. Garcia made AVC (12-14-1, 3-4) pay on her next swing to score the two-out single. 

Freshman Lily Baggot made it 2-0 in the fourth inning with an RBI single that brought in her former West Ranch teammate Petretti to score. 

Wissmath was pleased with his bats on the day, getting four runs across against standout Marauders pitcher Loera. 

“We started out really good and then (Loera) threw a gem against us,” Wissmath said on the team’s loss to AVC in March. “She shut us out. We didn’t score another run after that, and they came back and ended up beating us in the eighth. We put ourselves in some predicaments today but we didn’t make mistakes. We have to play that great for us to win ball games.” 

Loera finished the day with nine strikeouts and one walk. Loera was the catalyst to AVC’s first win over COC earlier this season, in a game she also finished with nine strikeouts but in relief. 

Canyons second baseman Alexia Mejia (12) catches the ball during the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game against Antelope Valley College on April 2. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

The Marauders won the home matchup earlier this season 8-7, scoring eight unanswered runs past the Cougars, who were held hitless after the third inning. 

This time around, Wissmath knew his team was ready to avenge the loss but knew they’d need to get past Loera. 

Canyons’ win ends a three-game skid as the team is aiming to get back on a winning streak with some tough competition up ahead. COC will take on five top-20 teams in the state, according to the California Community College Athletic Association’s latest coaches poll. 

“All these teams are in the top seven and we gotta go play them,” Wissmath said. “So if we can squeeze at least one, that’ll put us in the ringer and I think we’ll have a chance to go into the postseason.” 

Despite the struggles, Canyons remains above .500 in Western State Conference play and has the chance to make the playoffs for the 11th straight season. 

The Marauders head to Glendale on Thursday at 2 p.m. while the Cougars also hit the road for a non-conference matchup with the Chaffey Panthers at 2 p.m. 

“At this point, it’s only looking forward,” Wissmath said. “We can’t look back to see what we have done. We have to focus. Every day is a new day and we have to continue working hard on our game and keep looking forward to that next game that we’re getting ready to play.” 

Canyons infielder Lexy Angulo (7) bats during the second inning of Tuesday’s game against Antelope Valley College on April 2. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Canyons freshman Hayley Neale (22) slides to second base during the fifth inning of Tuesday’s game against Antelope Valley College on April 2. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Canyons pitcher Nichole Muro (2) catches the ball during the fifth inning of Tuesday’s game against Antelope Valley College on April 2. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

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