Softball breaks 10-year losing streak

Madison LeClaire gets a basehit in a recent game. She posts a .444 batting average in conference play. She and the Pirates are in second place in the Orange Empire Conference. LeClaire has 11 RBIs on the season. She has four hits in four conference games. The Lady Pirates are on a six game winning streak, outscoring their opponents 35-15 in that stretch.

Orange Coast College’s softball team is 11-1 overall after a walk-off win over third place Santiago Canyon College.

The Pirates are 3-1 in conference play.

OCC had not beat SCC since the inception of the Hawk program 13 years ago. Santiago has been a forced to be reckoned with in recent years. They won the state championship in 2016, and have been a top-five seed in the Southern California Regional playoffs the past two years.

Santiago Canyon got off to an early lead in the top of the first inning after a two-out rally. After a double by Cozette Zoch, Sabrina Rivera was able to get an RBI single to score Zoch.

Pirate pitcher sophomore Jordyn East kept the Hawks in check the rest of her 6.1 innings of work.

She didn’t allow a walk and allowed SCC just four hits on Friday. She posts a 2.97 ERA in 33 innings pitched this season.

East has sent the fourth most girls back to the bench with 35 strikeouts on the season.

Flawless defense and strong pitching for the Pirates left the score at 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning.

Pirate freshman powerhouse Liana Castro found her pitch and sent it over the left field fence, tying the game at one.

She has blasted five homeruns and has 16 RBIs this season. Castro leads the conference in homeruns. She has the second highest batting average on OCC’s squad. She posts a .462 average.

The Hawks threatened to go ahead in the top of the seventh but were held off by East. Santiago started a late inning rally with two outs but were brought to a halt with a foul pop out after a single and a hit batter.

The Lady Pirates came back to win in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Sophomore outfielder Blake Hesla led off with a nine-pitch plate appearance resulting in a walk.

Freshman outfielder Joanna Michaels moved Hesla into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. OCC leads the conference with 19 sacrifice hits. Sophomore Shawna Aguerrebere was able to move Hesla to third on a fly out.

Freshman third baseman Brooklynn Pack came up clutch with a RBI single to push past Santiago Canyon for the first time ever. Pack’s .469 batting average leads the team and is fifth highest in the conference.

 Softball has slowly made a name for themselves in the OEC. Last season, they held a record of 17-21.

With more than half the season left to be played, the Lady Pirates look to make a push for the playoffs.

With top-five statistic leaders performances in seven of eight categories, OCC may be able to reach the playoffs for the first time in recent years.

The Pirates remain in second place in the Orange Empire Conference. OCC returns to play today weather permitting vs. fifth place rival Santa Ana College at home. They will also be at home tomorrow vs. Saddleback at 3 p.m. weather permitting. 

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