Corsair softball loses final home game

In their final home game of the season, the Santa Monica College softball team fell to the Antelope Valley College Marauders, 8-5 last Thursday.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, with the Lady Corsairs already down two runs, SMC outfielder Christine "CP3" Padilla hit a two RBI double, pulling SMC even.

Not to be outdone, Jasmine Martinez also knocked in two RBIs, matching Padilla with a double of her own, giving the Corsairs a two-run lead.

However, the lead would not last.

In the top of the fifth inning the Marauders hung four runs on Lady Corsairs starting pitcher Julie Munoz, capped off by a triple from Antelope Valley's first baseman Taylor Crowder.

Munoz was not pulled after the two out rally, a move, or lack thereof, that highlighted the Lady Corsairs lack of depth on the mound.

"[The Maurauders] can go to a closer that's throwing 62 miles per hour and I'm still with my starter who's laboring but I don't have anyone I can put in there," said SMC Head Coach Daniel Soto.

The Marauders handed the ball from starting pitcher Hannah Ulibarri to relief pitcher Haley Schulman in the bottom of the fifth inning. What Schulman proceeded to do was nothing short of clutch, as she retired four of the first five Lady Corsairs she faced en route to seven strike outs over the final three innings.

Though Ulibarri left nothing but doubt in the minds of the Corsairs lineup, SMC posed one last threat in the bottom of the seventh inning.

With runners on the corners and a run already in, Lizeth Lopez stepped up to the plate in an attempt to end their final home stand of the season on a heroic note. But unfortunately, there would be no such heroics, as Lopez struck out looking, to end the game.

Though this is the fifteenth consecutive loss for the Lady Corsairs, Soto believes that the team is still moving in the right direction coming off a dismal two win season last year.

"I'm not big on moral victories. I like real victories, ones I can put a check mark next to the W," Soto said. "But that is a moral victory, to come out here and play against a team that is that good and take their punches and give our punches. So moral victory, yes. Not the kind I want but I will take them right now."

This was the final game for departing sophomores Lizeth Lopez and Alexandra Villa, and although the last two seasons have been less than satisfactory for the SMC, the difference between this season and the last could not have been more different. The Lady Corsairs won five times as many games, improving their win total from two to 10 in just a years time. An improvement that would not have been possible without the leadership of the two sophomores.

The win improved the Marauders to 29-9 overall and 15-4 in conference play. If nothing else, the win should give the Marauders a fighting chance at a playoff berth, and maybe even a first round home game.

Thursday's loss was followed by a season ending defeat against Citrus College on Tuesday, which dropped the Corsairs to 10-25 on the season and 2-18 in conference play.

If the squad can show the same type of improvement next season as they showed this season, SMC might find themselves primed for a run at the playoffs in just a years time.