Photo by Bruce Jacobsen
VALENCIA - It might be safe to say that after the new softball rankings are revealed in the near future, you will find the Marauder softball team potentially cracking the state's top 10.
And why wouldn't it.
Let's see, 20 victories in a row, including three dominant victories against teams ranked higher than them, for starters.
Two of AVC's biggest games of the season came on Tuesday on the road against arch-rival, College of the Canyons. The Marauders didn't disappoint.
AVC took a stranglehold of the Western State Conference-East Division standings with a pair of impressive victories, 7-2 and 10-3 over the Cougars at College of the Canyons.
"These are two huge wins wins today. To win on the road with a team of that caliber is so huge. The girls are on fire. They are so confident right now," AVC head coach Cindy Vargas said. "They came out today knowing they were going to win. They weren't satisfied just winning the first game. They wanted the second game so bad. They left it all on the field."
The Marauders (28-5) extended their win streak to 20 games, second longest in school history. It's been such a long time since their last loss, an 11-0 shutout against Palomar College on Feb. 24.
"Something clicked after the Palomar game," said Vargas. "We got humbled and something opened their eyes."
AVC is now one victory away from clinching at least a share of conference title.
The Marauders were led in the first game by Tawnee Hegre, who was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. Hegre also hit a three-run, inside-the-park home run in the top of the fifth inning to help build AVC's lead to 5-1.
Paige Johnson doubled and tripled and Sally Miramontes hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning. Morgan Arndt was solid on the mound as she pitched a complete game allowing only two runs, while scattering only six hits.
"It was huge for us to go over there and get the two wins. Our defense and pitching was so good today and we were hitting the heck out of the ball" Hegre said. "We knew we had to win these games and to beat a good team like COC would really put us ahead. The 20 in a row is crazy. We want to keep our streak going."
AVC came back in the second game and flexed its muscles again as Johnson was 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. Johnson leads the state with 15 home runs, two off the school record, and a ridiculous state-leading 75 RBI.
Valerie Dorantes joined the hit parade finishing 3-for-5 with three RBI and Hegre added two more hits. Arndt picked up her 19th win of the season in relief of Krystan Cook. Jennifer Littlejohn was 1-for-2 with three RBI for AVC.