Photo by Bruce Jacobsen
WALNUT - It was a long, long day for Maruader Softball, but at the end of the day, the Marauders ended up winning a 5-4 back and forth game over No. 3 El Camino to move on to the last day of the Super Regionals.
AVC faces host and No. 2 Mt. San Antonio for the right to play in the four team state championship next week in Bakersfield.
AVC must beat the Mounties twice to move into state.
The Warriors, which had beaten AVC 6-3 in the opening game of the Super Regionals, scored first with a run in the third. The Maraudes answered with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning, the second coming on a Paige Johnson RBI.
That increases Johnson state record RBI total to 99, just one away from being the only player in state history to reach triple digets in RBI.
There was little action until the sixth when the Warriors scored twice to again take the lead.
Dolly Stevens then stepped up and tied the score with her now state leading 23rd home run of the season. Stevens, for the first time this season, is ahead of Johnson in home runs.
"We proved we can come back before. We have the heart and we don't quit," Stevens said. "Everybody stayed up and we all had energy. This was a huge victory (heading into the championship). We've been waiting for this all season. Our team is so amazing. We have each other's back."
Morgan Arndt then singled in what would be the winning run. Arndt, who started against Cerritos in the first game of the day but only pitched four innings, went the whole way against El Camino, giving up eight runs and striking out five.
Pinch hitter Rebecca Whelchel added some insurance with a single to left field, giving the Marauders a 5-3 lead.
"Support. I'm so full of emotion. Knowing that your coach and teams supports you and knowing they have the confidence in you is an amazing feeling," Whlechel said. "We are so mentally tough. It's great. This is very special for us."