SMC softball splits doubleheader

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The Santa Monica College softball team took to their home field at John Adams Middle School yesterday afternoon in an attempt to break their 7-game losing streak and improve their season record of 12-15.

In the first game of a doubleheader against the Glendale Community College Vaqueros, the Lady Corsair let old habits resurface as they had difficulty closing out the Vaqueros, ultimately losing 11-6. "It's pretty similar to what we've done all season, start slow and finish strong but we always leave ourselves with too much to do," said Head Coach Daniel Soto. "We're a scrappy little bunch, but I wish we would start games the way we end them. We can play with anybody and we have proven that time and time again." In the second game of the doubleheader, SMC got out of trouble in the first inning, turning a rare 5-3-2 double play and keeping Glendale off the scoreboard in the early going. The presence of mind to execute that play on this level by the Lady Corsairs suggests that fielding is definitely not one of their weaknesses.

In the bottom half of the first inning, the Lady Corsairs got to work early, putting a myriad of runners on base and not squandering them. SMC would put up five runs in the inning highlighted by a two-run triple from freshman center fielder Lauren Spurlin.

"I'm just happy to help my team out and whatever I can do to give us some cushion, means a lot," said Spurlin. "I feel like our season started off a little slow, just because it's a whole new team, but we're coming together." Though the Lady Corsairs were able to put some early pressure on the Vaqueros, it wouldn't take long for Glendale to respond.

In the top of the second inning, following the Lady Corsairs initial outburst, outfielder Vivian Topete crushed a two-run homer off SMC pitcher Jasmine Martinez.

Sensing Martinez was struggling, Soto opted to bring in pitcher Natalie Montelongo, and it didn't take long to see the move pay off. Montelongo would not give up a run until the fifth inning, by which time the Lady Corsairs had amassed a comfortable 8-4 lead.

"I think the game went pretty well," said Montelongo. "I try not to think about coming into the game during a pressure situation. I just try to come in, do my job and pitch for my team."

With such an impressive start to her collegiate career, the Lady Corsairs coaching staff is happy about the possibility of bringing back such a talented young player like Montelongo.

"When she's on her game, she's a tough pitcher to hit. She has really good pitches and she throws them for strikes," said Soto. "Sometimes she can be her own worst enemy, sometimes she battles herself instead of just letting it go. Today she did a much better job moving on to the next batter." Glendale would make it as close as 8-5, but just as they managed to put a couple runners on base in the top of the fifth inning, the game was called due to time constraints.

Though the Lady Corsairs have had a difficult time getting in a rhythm this season, wins like this are the building blocks for the future.

SMC only has two returning players on the team right now, which means they should have a good amount of sophomores returning next season. All of whom are getting lots valuable experience for next year.

With the coaching SMC has in place, in addition to the work ethic the Lady Corsairs have come to expect from themselves, next season they should have a great jump on everyone else in the division when the pursuit of the playoffs begins.