Photo by Bruce Jacobsen
Fri., May 5, No. 6 Antelope Valley College Marauders (33-5, 18-0 and champions of the Western State East) vs. No. 11 Santa Ana Don (24-15, 11-9 and third in the Orange Empire Conference), first round Southern California Softball Regional State Playoffs, Marauder Softball Stadium, Lancaster, 2 p.m.
Sat., May 6, No. 6 Antelope Valley College Marauders (32-6, 14-0 and champions of the Western State East) vs. No. 11 Santa Ana Don (24-15, 11-9 and third in the Orange Empire Conference), first round Southern California Softball Regional State Playoffs, Marauder Softball Stadium, Lancaster, Noon.
Sat., May 6, No. 6 Antelope Valley College Marauders (32-6, 14-0 and champions of the Western State East) vs. No. 11 Santa Ana Don (24-15, 11-9 and third in the Orange Empire Conference), first round Southern California Softball Regional State Playoffs, Marauder Softball Stadium, Lancaster, 2 p.m. (if necessary).
There really aren't brackets again this season. AVC and Santa Ana play in a best two out of three series. The winner of that will be reseeded into a four team "Super Regional" hosted by the top seed in the regional. Since there are two regionals, it is possible that AVC could host, but highly unlikely. If everything goes the way the seeders expect, AVC would play in the No. 2 regional at Mt. San Antonio and face No. 3 El Camino on Fri., May 12. If Santiago Canyon should win and there are no other upsets, they would play in regional 1 and face No. 1 Cypress on the 12th.
SIXTH SEED: In their 21st post-season competition in 24 years, the Marauders are sixth for the third time. In both 2008 and 2011 AVC hosted a playoff game, beating Citrus in two games in 2008 and in three in 2011. AVC is 13-4 overall in post-season playing at home.
May 2 Play-in
No. 17 Grossmont (21-17) at No. 16 Ventura (18-12)
No. 18 Allan Hancock (27-13) at No. 15 Fullerton (19-21)
Lowest remaining seed at No. 1 Cypress (40-0)
Second lowest remaining seed at No. 2 Mt. San Antonio (35-3)
No. 9 College of the Canyons (28-11) at No. 8 Southwestern (27-10)
No. 10 Citrus (24-14) at No. 7 Cerritos (26-13)
No. 11 Santa Ana (24-15) at No. 6 Antelope Valley (33-5)
No. 12 Long Beach City (23-17) at No. 5 Santiago Canyon (29-10)
No. 13 Pasadena (25-13) at No. 4 Palomar (26-11)
No. 14 Riverside City (18-20) at No. 3 El Camino (34-6)
The Marauders beat the Dons 5-0 earlier this season, and that brought the series to 12-9-1 in favor of Santa Ana. The two have met twice before in the playoffs. The first was in 1995 in Regional 3 at Santa Ana, which the Dons won 8-1. The second was in the No. 2 Super regional in 2011 that saw the Dons win 6-3. Both losses ended playoffs for the Marauders.
ODDLY SIMILAR TO 2011
The last time the Marauders were in playoffs was 2011. In that season AVC went 32-6 in the regular season, undefeated in conference play. They were coming into the playoffs seeded 6th and undefeated at Marauder Softball Stadium and faced an 11 seed team that was 25-13, 11-10 and fourth in the Orange Empire. They also were boasting the State and Conference Player of the Year and Conference Pitcher of the Year.
So fast forward to 2017. AVC is 33-5 and undefeated in conference. They seeded sixth, are undefeated so far at home this season, and are facing the 11th seeded Don which are 24-15, 11-9 and third in the Orange Empire. They also are boasting the State and Conference Player of the Year and Conference Pitcher of the Year.
History tells us that in 2011 AVC won two of the three games and moved on to the Super Regionals.
It seems once the 2017 edition of Marauder Softball got started, it wasn't going to be stopped. AVC started the season a very tentative 8-5. Since their last loss, on Feb. 24 to Palomar, AVC has gone 25-0. In the process they continue putting the ball over the outfield field, boasting the most home runs in the state with 52 and also the No. 1 (Paige Johnson, 21) and No. 2 (Dolly Stevens, 18) home run hitters in the state. Stevens hit a school record three homers against Oxnard. Johnson herself has put up ridiculous numbers, became the first Marauder ever to hit for the cycle, and is leading the state in runs (62) and RBI (91, 27 past the previous AVC record), which is the reason she became the Marauders' second State Player of the Year. Probably the biggest mark of this team is their unwillingness to lose. Several times down late, the Marauders came back to win, including taking nine innings to beat Ventura 4-0. But the last game of the regular season was probably the most telling. Having already clinched the undisputed Western State East championship and down 16-8 with only three outs left, AVC used only two of them and walked off the 17-16 winner over Citrus. No other team in the state has ever come back from being eight runs down in their final at bat to win.
Ticket prices are set by the CCCAA and are $12 for adults and $8.00 for all identified students, faculty, staff, senior citizens age 60 and over, and children less than 12 years of age. No other passes are accepted.
The Marauders are on a second best ever 25 game winning streak. They have won 15 straight at home and are on a two game winning streak against the Dons. They are on a one game losing streak in playoffs and a one game winning streak at home in playoffs.
STATE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Paige Johnson (3b, R/R, 5-4, SO, Santa Clarita (Canyon '15/Southern Utah)) became the second Marauder to earn State Player of the Year honors. She led the Marauders in convincing fashion to a perfect 18-0 Western State East conference title, a 15-0 home record and a 25 game winning streak that is the second best in AVC's storied history. And of course is the latest of the Marauders' State and Conference Player of the Year.
She broke Perez' single season home run record with 21 and toppled her RBI record by 27 with 91, both marks are also best in state. She is also No. 1 in the state in runs with 62 – just six away from Erica Ricker's school record.
Second in batting average all time for the Marauders, she is just the fourth AVC player to hit over .500 and is third in the state. She is the only second Marauder – the first was Perez – to be over 1.000 in slugging percentage and is second in the state.
She also helps with her glove on the corner. She has a .976 fielding average with just two errors on the season.
Named to the All State Team was Morgan Arndt (P, R/R, 5-8, SO, Quartz Hill (Quartz Hill '14) who was also named AVC's 15th Conference Pitcher of the Year. Arndt was 22-2 with 177 strikeouts overall and registered a 2.66 ERA with 58 strikeouts in conference play and Dolly Stevens (ss, R/R, 5-10, SO, Palmdale (Highland '15) who was second in the state in home runs with 18 and hit .519 in conference with 31 RBI.
Valerie Dorantes, OF, L/R, 5-6, FR, Palmdale (Highland '16) who hit .432 with 51 hits and 39 RBI was named All-Southern California.
WESTERN STATE EAST
The Marauders again swept the Foothill Conference awards, taking the Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year Awards for the ninth time
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Johnson was named co-Player of the Year with Citrus' Jade Nua. Johnson led the state in home runs, RBI and runs. Her .565 batting average is second in Marauder history and she hit .591 during conference. Johnson's Conference Player of the Year honor is the 12th in Marauder history, and she is the 10th in AVC history to be so honored.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
With a perfect 13-0 record from the circle, Arndt was named AVC's 15th Conference Pitcher of the Year, and is the 14th individual to be so named. Arndt registered a 2.66 ERA with 58 strikeouts in conference play. Overall, she was 22-2 with 177 strikeouts.
Named to the first team was Dolly Stevens, ss, R/R, 5-10, SO, Palmdale (Highland '15) who was second in the state in home runs with 18 and hit .519 in conference with 31 RBI; Tawnee Hegre, P/IF, L/R, 5-6, SO, Lancaster (Lancaster '14) who hit .426 in conference and Valerie Dorantes, OF, L/R, 5-6, FR, Palmdale (Highland '16) who hit .431 in conference play with 28 runs and 20 RBI.
Named to the second team were Kyrstan Cook, P/1b, R/R, 6-0, FR, Palmdale (Highland '16) AVC's No. 2 pitcher who had a 4-0 record in conference, Sally Miramontes, C, R/L, 5-3, SO, Coachella (Coachella Valley '15) who hit .325 with 21 RBI, Samantha Arriola, OF, R/R, 5-2, FR, Lancaster (Paraclete '16) who had a .500 batting average in conference and Elise Moore, IF, L/R, 5-4, SO, Lake Hughes (Quartz Hill '14/FSU-Jacksonville) who hit .370 in conference with 18 RBI.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Cindy Vargas was named Conference Coach of the Year for the seventh time.