No. 9 Canyons Eliminated From Playoffs by No. 7 Santiago Canyon
Story and photos by Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
ORANGE — No. 9 College of the Canyons struggled to find its rhythm at the plate and in the field on Saturday, as host No. 7 Santiago Canyon College was able to sweep a playoff doubleheader to eliminate the Cougars from postseason play.
Canyons dropped game two 8-0 in six innings, then fell 6-4 in game three. The two losses came a day after the Cougars picked up a shortened 8-0 victory in five innings to begin the three-game series.
Santiago Canyon used a three-run sixth inning, including a two-run home run from Liliana Navarro, to end things early in Saturday's opener. Hawks' starter Stella Turner pitched the full six and allowed just three Cougar hits, also striking out three.
COC fared better in game three, taking a 1-0 first inning lead on an RBI-double from Ashlynn Heck.
But in the second the Hawks came storming back with a pair of extra base hits against COC starter Samantha Flores that plated a pair of runs for a 2-1 SCC advantage.
Heck tied the game at 2-2 with an RBI single that scored Lisa Motz in the third before back-to-back groundouts ended the inning with a runner at third.
Santiago Canyon moved ahead 6-2 with a four-run outburst in the fifth that was aided by some Cougars fielding miscues.
Once again it was Heck answering the call with an RBI sac-fly in the fifth to make it a 6-3 ballgame.
Brianne Tall brought the Cougars a bit closer at 6-4 with her solo home run in the sixth, but once again two quick outs ended any further threat.
The COC lineup was retired in order in the seventh to end the game with the hot-hitting Heck in the on-deck circle.
Flores battled throughout her game three start but was charged with the loss after allowing six runs, five earned, on 10 hits and six walks.
Turner earned wins in both games for SCC after limiting the Cougars to 11 hits across the two contests.
The Hawks (31-12) will next face No. 2 Cerritos College (32-10) in the second round of the Southern California Regional Playoff, with that series beginning on Friday.
Canyons finished the 2022 season with a 25-17-1 overall record and 8-4 mark in conference play to finish second in the Western State Conference (WSC), South Division and qualify for the postseason for a ninth consecutive season. The Cougars also saw nine players earn All-WSC honors.