Photo by Bruce Jacobsen
Fri., May 12, No. 6 Antelope Valley College Marauders (35-5, 18-0 and champions of the Western State East) vs. No. 3 El Camino College Warriors (36-6, 12-0 and champions of the South Coast South), Super Regional Southern California Softball Regional State Playoffs, Walnut, 8 p.m.
Sat., May 13, No. 6 Antelope Valley College Marauders vs. No. 2 Mt. San Antonio College Mounties (37-3, 12-0 and champions of the South Coast North) or No. 7 Cerritos College Falcons (28-13, 7-5 and third in the of the South Coast South), Super Regional Southern California Softball Regional State Playoffs, Walnut, 3 p.m. if won on 5-12, 5:30 p.m. if lost.
The Super Regionals are in a four team, double-elimination format.
The bracket can be found here.
The Marauders have not played El Camino since 2013, when they beat the Warriors 9-3. Overall the series stands at 20-10 in favor of AVC, but the Warriors are 3-0 against the Marauders in playoffs and eliminated AVC in 2000.
The only team AVC has seen this year is Mt. San Antonio, which gave AVC their first loss of the season – 8-7 on January 31. The Mounties have a 31-13 series record, and have an 8-1 record in playoffs against AVC. They have eliminated AVC from the playoffs four times, including in 2006 when the Marauders had their only chance to play in the state championship game and had to settle for third.
AVC has not met the Falcons since 2014 and Cerritos leads the series 14-4-1. The only time these two met in playoffs, in 2005, AVC led 6-0 after four and ended up being eliminated 7-6.
STATE RECORD FOR JOHNSON
In the first round series, Paige Johnson drove in six runs, bringing her total to 97. It also sailed her past Justine Kunkel of West Valley's 2006 former state record of 91.
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. And they moved on to face the No. 3 team in the super regionals.
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.
They won both games against Santa Ana and moved on to the Super Regionals where they face the No. 3 team.
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 27-0. In the process they continue putting the ball over the outfield field, boasting the most home runs in the state with 61 and also the No. 1 (Paige Johnson, 22) and No. 2 (Dolly Stevens, 21) home run hitters in the state. Johnson herself has put up ridiculous numbers, leading the state in runs (68, tying the school record) and RBI (97, 33 past the previous AVC record and now the state 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.
The Marauders are on a second best ever 27 game winning streak. The are on a one game winning streak against the El Camino. They are on a two game winning streak in playoffs, a three game losing streak away from home and a four game losing streak 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.