Bakersfield, CA - Mt. San Antonio College, #1 seed out of Southern California, rallied late on Friday afternoon to defeat Northern California #4 Sacramento City College 2-1. The Mounties scored once in each of the fifth and sixth innings, and used a stellar outing from sophomore Briana Wheeler to earn the win.
Sacramento City would claw out a run in the top of the second inning. Sophomore third baseman Morgan Conner would start things off with a lead-off walk. Conner would then get sacrificed twice, moving to second and then third on a pair of bunts. With two outs on the board, sophomore left fielder Madi Furton stepped up to the plate and hit a bloop single to left that plated Conner and gave the Panthers the first lead of the game 1-0.
Trailing early, the Mounties would have plenty of opportunities from the second to the fourth. In the second, Mt. SAC got a two-out hit that went nowhere. In the third, the Mounties got a pair of runners thanks to a hit and an error that came up empty, and in the fourth Mt. SAC loaded up the bases with two outs. Just like in the previous innings, Sacramento City sophomore right-hander Danielle Reyes reared back and got big outs, this time getting a slow roller to her first baseman that ended another threat.
After three straight innings of frustration, the Mounties finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore center fielder Ally Longtree launched a solo home run over the left field fence to tie the game up at 1-1. One inning later, freshman shortstop Quinn De Avila would give the Mounties the lead when she hit a two-out shot to left that made it 2-1.
With the first lead of the day at her back, sophomore righty Briana Wheeler went back to work in the bottom of the seventh having retired 10 of the previous 11 batters she had faced. Wheeler picked up where she left off getting a pop-up and a strikeout to put the Panthers up against the wall. Sacramento would follow-up with a two-out walk and then a single to center by freshman Shelby Lloyd that put runners on the corners. Facing her first real test since the third, Wheeler reared back and got a punch out swinging to end the game.
Wheeler (25-1) finished the game scattering three hits and four walks over her complete game of work. She gave up just the one run and struck out four Panther batters. At the plate, Longtree and De Avila paced the Mounties at the plate. Longtree finished 3-for-3 with a run and an RBI, while De Avila was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. For Sacramento City Furton was 1-for-3 with the RBI.
With the win, Mt. SAC (41-5) advances to the quarterfinals and will play the winner of the final game of the day between NorCal #2 San Jose City College and SoCal #3 Palomar College. First pitch in tomorrow's quarterfinal is set for 11:30 AM at Bakersfield College.
Sacramento (33-10) drops into the elimination game where they will play the loser of the night cap tomorrow at 11:30 AM at Cal State Bakersfield.