Cortez, Hernandez Shut Down San Diego Mesa as Warriors Take Game One

(Photos by Yvette Blacknell)
(Photos by Yvette Blacknell)

TORRANCE, Caif. – No. 4 El Camino College showcased some stellar pitching in the circle and the offense erupted late to score an 8-0, run-rule walk-off victory over No. 13 San Diego Mesa Friday afternoon in game one of the CCCAA Softball Southern California Regionals at the ECC Softball Field.

Elizabeth Cortez drew the start in the circle for the Warriors (35-6) and was outstanding. She went four shutout innings and allowed just one hit. She struck out three without issuing a walk and retired the final 10 batters she faced in order.

Jocelyn Hernandez pitched the fifth and retired all three batters she faced in order. She also supplied some offense as she went 2-for-3 with a double and four RBI. Hernandez was one of three players to record multi-hit games against the Olympians (28-11). Kylee Perryman went 2-for-3 and Kassidy Robinson was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two RBI including the walk-off RBI double in the fifth inning.

Karli Ramsey took the loss for the Olympians as she allowed seven runs on six hits. She struck out one but hit four batters including three in the bottom of the fourth, where the Warriors did the majority of their damage.

Leading 1-0, the Warriors stepped up in the bottom of the fourth and proceeded to send 11 hitters to the plate. Alena De La Torre and Mina Nakawake led off with consecutive bunt-singles. De La Torre was erased on a fielder's choice at third base for the first out and then, following a stolen base, Belle Estrada popped out for the second out of the inning.

That's when Ramsey's control disappeared. She hit Marissa Garza to load the bases and then proceeded to belt Robinson and Diamond Lewis to force in two runs and gift ECC a 3-0 lead. Hernandez then delivered the big blow as she hit a bases clearing double to the left-center field gap to give the Warriors a 6-0.

Perryman would cap off the inning with an RBI single off reliever Jessica Schoen to make it 7-0.

In the fifth, the Warriors again pulled out the two-out magic as Garza walked and then Robinson hammered an RBI double to left-center to plate the game-winning run and give the Warriors a 1-0 lead in the series.

The teams will meet again Saturday at noon for game two of the series with the Warriors as the home team. A win for ECC will clinch a CCCAA  Super Regionals berth for the third straight season and fourth time in the last five years. A win for San Diego Mesa would force a winner-take-all game three 30 minutes after the conclusion of game two.