Steven Uhl & Adrian Gomez / Sun Staff
Some Jaguars are going to have to start hitting their spots.
Softball coach Yasmin Mossadeghi said Southwestern’s potent offense is putting up runs, but the pitching needs to improve if the Lady Jaguars hope to make the playoffs.
A 20-14 record (8-5 in conference) has SWC third in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.
“Every game from here on out is important, no matter who we play,” she said.
Poor pitching doomed the Lady Jaguars against defending state champion Palomar College, the PCAC frontrunner. The Lady Jags were clobbered 10-2, managing just eight hits.
“We are struggling,” said Mossadeghi. “It is difficult to fend off batters when pitchers are not hitting their spots constantly.”
The Lady Jaguars were tied 2-2 in the third inning against Grossmont, but could not find any offense. SWC was held scoreless until the last inning, losing 6-3.
SWC found its groove against Mt. San Jacinto. Up 5-0 going into the seventh inning, the game seemed over until MSJC put up four runs. The Lady Jaguars held on to win, 5-4.
A doubleheader against the Rio Hondo Roadrunners made the softball diamond look like a carousel. SWC racked up 11 runs in the first inning. Roadrunner’s pitcher Monica Gomez was the offensive catalyst for the Jags, walking the first four batters.
Rio Hondo rallied for seven runs in the second to pull within one. SWC clawed back in the bottom of the third to take a 12-10 lead.
SWC scored half a dozen in the sixth to seal an 18-10 win.
In the second game the Lady Jags scored two runs in the first and three in the fifth.
Freshman pitcher Rachel Beasley held Rio Hondo scoreless until the seventh. She recorded nine strikeouts while allowing just four hits in the 7-1 victory. Freshman Chelsea Aguilar said the Lady Jags’ pitching is a huge asset, as evidenced by their PCAC-leading 90 strikeouts.
“Beasley has a lot of speed,” she said. “(Brianna) Conser and I do not have as much speed, but our spins are more consistent.”
Beasley’s velocity overmatches most teams, while Conser and Aguilar rely on finesse.
In the Lady Jaguars next matchup against Mt. San Jacinto Beasley pitched five scoreless innings, but the offense carried the day. Conser, who plays the outfield when she does not pitch, led off with a single and freshman third baseman Sydni Toilolo drove her home. In the bottom of the second sophomore catcher Jessica Thompson drove in a run to make the score 2-0. After back-to-back singles, sophomore first baseman Sonia Mazon hit a bases-clearing two-run double to put the Jags up 4-0. Toilolo then hit a two-run home run to increase the lead to 8-0.
In the bottom of the 4th with the Lady Jags leading by 11 runs, the offense did not let up. Toilolo hit a three-run double to cap a 14-0 route of MSJC with the five-inning mercy rule.
Toilolo praised the defense.
“Other teams make a lot more errors when we start hitting,” she said. “If other teams hit our pitchers, we already know that our defense is pretty solid.”
SWC hosted Orange Coast College for a doubleheader in its home opener. Trailing 5-4 in the fifth inning, the Lady Jags broke the game open with six runs capped by Seeta Noa’s bases-clearing double. SWC won 15-9.
It was more of the same in game two.
Toilolo hit a two-run home run in the second inning to launch a 12-1 onslaught that ended
when the umpires invoked the mercy rule in the fifth inning.
Toilolo has six home runs on the season. Noa said her hitting has had a profound effect on the team.
“It’s a domino effect,” she said. “If one girl starts off the inning with a hit, most likely it’s going to be hit after hit after hit.”
With a month left Mossadeghi already has the season finale circled on her calendar.
“Our season looks like it is coming down to the final game against San Diego City,” she said.
“We’ll be ready.”