Story from www.cccaasports.org
by Andrew Wheeler, CCCFCA Sports Information
Over the weekend, the four remaining teams from the California Community College Athletic Association Softball Playoffs will descend upon the Dean and Ada Gay Softball Complex on the campus of Bakersfield College for the 38th CCCAA State Championships. The first game on Friday will pit the top remaining seed from the North College of San Mateo against Cypress College from the South at 5:30 PM. The second game of the opening night of play will feature South #1 Palomar College against Cosumnes River College from Northern California.
About the Participants
Cosumnes River College – North #2 (Originally North #4)
Cosumnes River College (31-11-1) is making its third overall appearance in the CCCAA State Championships and their first since 2010. 2010 was the first year that the championships were a four-team format since 2004, and the first time that Bakersfield College hosted the State Championships. The Hawks finished in third that season, losing to Mt. San Antonio College in the first round, before knocking off College of the Siskiyous on Saturday. Unfortunately that was the end of the road for Cosumnes as they lost again to Mt. SAC in their second elimination game.
Cosumnes entered the 2015 post-season after claiming the Big 8 Conference Championship and the #4 overall seed in Northern California. The Hawks opened up the playoffs at home with a sweep of Fresno City College 5-2 and 6-1. Cosumnes then turned around and knocked off Cabrillo College 4-3 in eight innings in the opening game of the "Super Regionals" hosted by NorCal #1 Sierra College. The Hawks followed that up with an 11-3 win in six innings over the defending CCCAA Champs and host Sierra, and then turned around and did it again 24 hours later with a 6-1 victory over the Wolverines in the deciding match-up, their fourth win over Sierra of the year.
The Wolverines were led this season by a pair of 3CFCA All-State selections in Hanna Miller and Big 8 Conference Pitcher of the Year Amanda Horbasch. Miller hit .472, clubbing 15 doubles and five home runs for a .740 slugging percentage. Miller drove in 54 RBIs and scored 25 runs for Cosumnes. Horbasch meanwhile was 25-4 in the circle, with a 1.90 ERA. Horbasch struck out 244 batters, averaging just over 8 K's a game. She also hit .351 with 42 runs scored and 27 RBIs.
Cypress College – South #2 (Originally South #3)
After a two year absence, the Cypress College (37-8) Softball team returns to the CCCAA State Championships for a CCCAA record 24th time. The Chargers also own the CCCAA record for most Softball State Championships with eight, the most recent coming in 2012, when they capped off their second three-peat in program history.
Cypress entered the 2015 post-season as champions of the Orange Empire Conference and the #3 overall seed in Southern California. The Chargers opened the post-season with wins over Rio Hondo College 13-0 (in five innings) and 4-1 to advance to the second round. In the "Super Regionals" the Chargers defeated OEC rival Santiago Canyon 13-5 (in five innings), before beating another conference challenger in Santa Ana College 5-2 to advance to Championships Sunday. With a bid to the State Championships on the line, the Chargers scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Santiago Canyon for the second time on the weekend for the fifth time this year 9-8.
The Chargers are paced by the Orange Empire Conference Pitcher of the Year, 3CFCA All-State selection, and NFCA All-American Taylor Pierce. Pierce went 19-5 in the circle for the Chargers, fanning 137 batters and posting a 2.72 ERA. At the plate, Pierce batted .373 with 46 RBIs, 36 runs scored, and 12 home runs. Cypress is also home to a trio of 3CFCA All-SoCal selections in Alejandra Guillen (.444, 42 runs, 26 RBIs | 7-1, 2.81 ERA), Tobi Salzman (.425, 41 runs, 41 RBIs), and Khailey Campos (.380, 49 runs, 29 RBIs).
Palomar College – South #1 (Originally South #1)
Palomar College (38-3-1) reaches the CCCAA State Championships for the 19th time in program history, which is the third most appearances in CCCAA Softball history. The Comets were last in the State Championships in 2013, a season in which they won the program's fourth CCCAA State Title. Palomar has won a State Championship in each of the past four decades winning in 1989, 1993, 2000, and 2013.
Palomar spent most of the season as the #1 team in Southern California in the 3CFCA Coaches Poll, and lived up to the hype, winning the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Championship and was named the #1 seed in Southern California. The Comets have continued to dominate in the post-season winning four of their five playoff contest in five-innings, and the fifth by five runs. Palomar opened up with a sweep of Cuesta 13-0 and 21-4, before playing host to three other SoCal teams in the "Super Regional." Palomar turned out not to be a very gracious host as they defeated Cerritos 12-3 in five, El Camino 10-2 in five, and then El Camino again in the deciding contest 6-1 on Monday.
The Comets have an embarrassment of riches on the field with two NFCA All-Americans, four 3CFCA All-State selections, and a 3CFCA All-SoCal selection. Sophomore short stop Kali Pugh and sophomore center fielder KK Fronda lead the way as All-Americans and All-State honorees. Pugh, who was named the 3CFCA Player of the Year as a freshman last year, didn't slink away from the spotlight, hitting .556 with 65 runs scored, 64 RBIs, 12 doubles, seven triples, and 15 runs. Pugh, who was also the PCAC Player of the Year, slugged 1.801 and played near perfect defense with a .966 fielding percentage. Fronda was nearly just as good with a .464 average, 60 runs scored, 35 RBIs, 12 doubles, six triples, and four home runs. Not to be outdone, freshmen Brooke Huddleson and PCAC Pitcher of the Year Summer Evans were also All-State selections. Huddleson hit .457 with 46 runs and 35 RBIs, while Evans 26-3 with a 0.89 ERA, oh and also hit .405 in 74 at bats. Freshman third baseman Iesha Hill was an All-SoCal honoree hitting .450 with 37 runs, 46 RBIs, and a .845 slugging percentage.
College of San Mateo – North #1 (Originally North #2)
The only undefeated team in the State, College of San Mateo (40-0), was voted the #1 team in the State and Northern California in the 3CFCA Coaches Poll back on February 25th, and held the spot for the remainder of the year. It's the 9th overall appearance by the Bulldogs in the CCCAA State Championships, and their third straight season being in Bakersfield. San Mateo is searching for the program's first ever State Championship, and are only second to San Joaquin Delta College in State Championship appearances without a State Title to their name.
Without a blemish on their record, the Bulldogs cruised to the Coast Conference North Division Championship and the #2 overall seed in Northern California. College of San Mateo is home to one of the most potent offenses and one of the stingiest defenses in the State as the Bulldogs have averaged 10.8 runs per game and have given up just 1.3 runs per game on the season. San Mateo started out the post-season with a sweep of American River College in the opening round 15-6 (in five innings) and 4-1. The Bulldogs followed that up with a 7-0 win over West Valley College in the opening game of the "Super Regional" they hosted, before beating San Joaquin Delta in back to back days 8-6 and 7-5.
Much like Palomar, San Mateo cleaned house when it came to post-season awards. The Bulldogs had four NFCA All-Americans, three 3CFCA All-State honorees, and the 3FCA State Player and Pitcher of the Year. Sophomores Lauren Berriatua and Melina Rodriguez highlight the impressive lineup. Berriatua was the Coast Conference North Division Pitcher of the Year, the 3CFCA Pitcher of the Year, and an NFCA All-American. Berriatua posted a miniscule 0.85 ERA, to go along with 171 K's and a 26-0 record. She also hit .533 with 41 runs scored and 50 RBIs. Her teammate Rodriguez was the Coast Conference North Division Player of the Year, 3CFCA Player of the Year, and an NFCA All-American. Rodriguez saw limited action in the beginning of the season due to injury, but still managed to post a .571 batting average, .654 on-base percentage, and .988 slugging percentage. She scored 51 runs, drove in 28 RBIs, hit seven doubles, two triples, and hit eight home runs, and stole 10 bases, all despite appearing in just 28 games. Sophomore Leilani Akai and freshman Harlee Donovan were both named NFCA All-Americans as well and 3CFCA All-State selections. Akai hit .524 with 39 runs scored and 62 RBIs, while Donovan batted .548 with 64 runs, 75 RBIs, and 19 home runs. Rounding out the 3CFCA All-State selections is Kayleen Smith, who hit .454 with 63 runs, 31 RBIs, and a team high 28 stolen bases.
Going the Distance
The last three CCCAA State Championships have all gone the maximum number of contests. Back in 2012, Cypress College lost in the semi-finals on Saturday to College of the Siskiyous before beating Riverside later Saturday evening. The Chargers then went onto the defeat Siskiyous twice on Sunday to claim their 8th State Championship. In 2013, Palomar College made it through the first two games unscathed with wins over College of San Mateo and Shasta College. On Sunday, the Comets lost to Riverside in the first game 8-2 before rallying with a 7-2 victory over the Tigers to claim their fourth State Championship. Last year, Sierra College won their program's first State Championship the same way the Comets did before them. The Wolverines knocked off Santiago Canyon on Friday 3-1 and then beat Mt. SAC 7-6 on Saturday to advance to Sunday. Sierra lost to Mt. SAC in the first game 4-3 before coming back with a 6-5 win in game two.
2 > 1
In three of the last four seasons, as it turns out #2 has been greater than #1. Starting in 2011, a #2 seed has won the CCCAA State Championship. In 2011 Cypress College was the #2 seed in the South, as was Palomar in 2013, and Sierra the North #2 seed in 2014.
By the Numbers
1,342 – the combined total number of runs scored by all four teams in this weekend's State Championships. San Mateo topped the list (and the State) with 432 runs scored this season.
.556 – batting average by Palomar's Kali Pugh. It's the third highest in the State, and the highest of any player this weekend.
244 – strikeouts by Cosumnes River's Amanda Horbasch. It's the third most in the State, and most of any pitcher this weekend.
75 – RBIs by College of San Mateo's Harlee Donovan, the most in the State.
28 – stolen bases by College of San Mateo's Kayleen Smith. It's tied for eighth most in the State, and the most of any player this weekend.
26 – wins by Palomar College's Summer Evans and College of San Mateo's Lauren Berriatua, tied for third in the State, and most of any pitcher this weekend.
19 – home runs by Donovan, the most in the State.
8 – number of CCCAA State Championships for Cypress College. The most in CCCAA Softball history.
4 – saves by Cypress College's Taylor Ebner, the second most in the State this season and the most of any pitcher this weekend.
1.87 – combined ERA of the four teams competing in this weekend's State Championships. All four teams were in the Top 11 in the State in team ERA, led by San Mateo at two (1.13) and Palomar at three (1.43).
How to Follow
The 2015 CCCAA State Softball Championships can be followed a number of different ways throughout this weekend. The first would be to attend in person at Bakersfield College, where general admission is $10 a day, and $7 for students, faculty, staff, senior citizens 60+, and children under 12 with identification. A tournament pass can also be purchased for $20.
If you can't come join in person, you can also follow online. The 2015 State Championships will be broadcast live online, with Matt Folsom, the voice of the CCCAA State Softball Championships, calling the action. Live stats will also be available throughout the weekend. All links to the LIVE action can be found on the CCCAA Scoreboard just before the games.