(Walnut) – By John M. Sherrard - The Mt. San Antonio College softball team is back where they have been for 12 of the last 16 years – the CCCAA Southern California Super Regionals (second round).
After a one-year absence in the second round, the Mounties swept Chaffey College in two games over the weekend in the first round and will advance to the Super Regionals this Friday at Santiago Canyon College in Orange against College of the Canyons (31-12) in the double elimination, four-team bracket.
Also in the Super Regional is No. 2 seed Santiago Canyon (34-7), which will play Santa Barbara City College (30-12).
Mt. SAC (37-5) freshman pitcher Jessica Olvera (John F. Kennedy HS) pitched a complete-game three hitter for her 12th win of the season in defeating Chaffey, 8-3 on Sunday.
Olvera was recently named to the All Southern California Region team.
That was preceded by a one-hitter by freshman pitcher Tiffany Kennedy-Cummings (Chino HS) on Saturday in game one of the playoffs against Chaffey (26-14-1). Kennedy-Cummings was chosen as the state co-pitcher of the year.
"It's all about momentum and Tiff (Kennedy-Cummings) and I do a good job of slowing things down," Olvera said.
"As a team we have the whole package and we're kind of hard to beat."
Mt. SAC, which has won four state titles since 2003, is seeded third in the playoffs.
"It's our goal every single year to get there (state championships) and that's what we strive for," fourth-year Mt. SAC coach Ruby Rojas said, who was named the South Coast Conference coach of the year for the second time in four years. "This is why our hunger is even greater this year because we didn't get there last year.
"We definitely have all three elements of the game this year, the pitching, the hitting and the defense."
Mt. SAC was led by freshman catcher Taylor Jaurique (Wilson HH HS) on Sunday with two hits and three runs scored and two RBIs.
"It's really exciting to come back from last year after the team was eliminated," Jaurique said.
Sophomore first baseman Aimee Rodriguez (John Burroughs HS) led the team with three RBIs in the game.
Two other Mountie players had two hits: freshman center fielder Bree Maikai (Oak Hill HS) and freshman designated player Aleyah Wilbon (Summit HS).
Mt. SAC scored three runs in the first two innings for a commanding 6-0 lead.
Rodriguez (1 for 2) highlighted the first inning with a two-run double, scoring sophomore left fielder Danielle Jeffress (Kaiser HS) and Jaurique. Rodriguez scored on a single to right-center by Maikai (2 for 2) for the 3-0 lead.
The second inning was highlighted by a two-run single to left-center by Jaurique, scoring Wilbon (2 for 2, RBI) and freshman shortstop Kayla Sok (Glendora HS). Jaurique scored after Rodriguez reached on an error by the Chaffey second baseman.
The Mounties added single runs in the next two innings as Maikai singled and scored in the third inning and Jaurique reached on an error in the fourth inning and came home on a single to center by sophomore second baseman Natalie Winokur (El Camino Real HS).
Chaffey added a single run in the third inning to trail, 6-1, and two in the fifth.