The Renegade Rip

Softball makes playoff push with series sweep

Mohamed Bafakih, Contributing Editor

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The final three games of the 2016 Bakersfield College softball season will take place this upcoming week as the Renegades look to bolster their record in hopes of earning a postseason bid.

The race for the top two spots in the conference to get an automatic bid in the playoffs may come down to BC’s final two games on April 26 as the Renegades will host Antelope Valley College in a doubleheader.

AVC currently has the No. 2 seed and BC has the No. 3 seed, but both teams have the same conference record. Although the Marauders have a better overall record and season series advantage at 1-0 over the Renegades, BC must win out the next few games and sweep AVC to have a higher probability of a playoff spot if they beat out L.A. Valley and L.A. Mission.

Second-year head coach Christie Hill said they hold their fate for the postseason in their hands, but she wants to see clean games on both sides of the field.

Prior to BC’s doubleheader against L.A. Valley on April 19 (recap at TheRip.com), which was part of the Renegades’ nine of final 10 games at home to close out the regular season that began with a series sweep of Santa Monica on April 12, BC (14-20-1 overall, 10-6 Western State-Blue Division) battled against three teams with a combined record of 77-24 in two nights.

Hill credited a “really tough preseason” in preparation for stretches like this in pivotal moments for her young team, which features just three sophomores.

One of those sophomores, pitcher/catcher Trinidad Lee, has taken notice of her teammates’ growth throughout the season, as they have turned a once hopeless season into a hopeful one.

“I just think now that the girls (have) played with each other longer, we get to know each other, we’re comfortable with each other… once you get that bond and you start playing together, you play as a team and that’s just the difference,” Lee said following the sweep of Santa Monica.

In the first game Lee finished with two home runs on four at-bats, pitched a complete game and struck out eight batters in a 9-1 rout of the Corsairs.

BC’s second and only true pitcher, freshman Marina Felipe, got the win in the second match against the Corsairs, where she gave up one hit, zero runs and struck out nine batters in a 8-0 shutout win for the Renegades.

“They both [Lee and Felipe] are throwing well,” Hill said. “They’re a great combination.”

Second-place BC and first-place College of the Canyons squared off in a WSC-Blue showdown on April 14 in the third and final meeting between the two teams, and BC’s only road game in the last half of April.

The Cougars (23-9, 13-2 WSC-Blue) bested the Renegades 4-0 to give them the 3-0 season series sweep of BC.

In the three games played against the Cougars, BC has been outscored 22-1. However, as opposed to the 15-0 shutout loss in the first meeting against Canyons on March 22, the last two meetings saw COC score a combined seven runs.

The Renegades then returned home the following day to face Cuesta (23-11) and Mt. San Antonio College (31-4) in a non-conference doubleheader.

Cuesta had already beaten BC 3-1 earlier in the preseason when both teams faced each other on Feb. 12.

Cuesta jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after two innings, but the Renegades responded with six runs in the bottom of the third inning to make it 6-5 behind back-to-back homers from Lee (11th of season, fifth most in the state) and Madalyn Arambula.

Cuesta capitalized on the Renegades’ four errors, which led to 10 unearned runs in the Cougars’ 12-7 victory.

BC played a cleaner game against Mt. SAC in the second end of the doubleheader, but the Mounties held on, 3-2.

Mt. SAC led 2-0 until the bottom of the sixth when Isabelle Martinez hit a two-run homer to tie it up. However, in the top of the seventh, BC gave up its second critical walk off of a hit batter leading to a RBI double from Aimee Rodriguez to bring in the winning run by Danielle Jeffress.

“It (Mt. SAC) was a great game. We were toe-to-toe with them at the plate, but walks and hit batters made the difference in the game. It’s the little things that make a difference when playing top teams like Mt. Sac,” said Hill.

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Softball makes playoff push with series sweep