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College softball: A Step ahead

COC’s unbeaten streak hits 19 with game-one victory

Posted: May 6, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 6, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Shay Romero (7) gets on base with a bunt in the fourth inning against Santa Barbara at College of the Canyons on Saturday.

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It’s been six weeks since College of the Canyons softball lost a game.

During that time, the Western State Conference, Blue Division champion Cougars haven’t spent a whole lot of time playing from behind.

Neither has starting pitcher Kimmie Lockhart, who — despite falling behind by a run early — tossed a no-hitter in COC’s 7-2 win over Santa Barbara City College on Saturday at COC in the opening round of the California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Regional playoffs.

Lockhart allowed two runs, one earned, and issued eight walks in the game, which was the first of a best-of-three series that will continue today at noon at COC (38-2-1).

If a deciding third game is required, it will take place directly after game two.

“I got the first playoff jitters out at the beginning,” Lockhart said of her first career collegiate playoff start. “But my team pumped me up and I started feeling more comfortable out there.”

Santa Barbara City (23-16) got on the board first when Kylie Onstott scored on a wild pitch from Lockhart (22-1) in the fourth inning to make it a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom half of the inning, COC fired back with a five-run rally which was started by a leadoff solo home run by Adriana Correa, her 18th of the year.

Correa finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

“We realized we better step it up,” said COC head coach John Wissmath. “I knew it was a matter of time. We just had to go through (the lineup) a couple of times.”

After Correa’s blast, the next six COC batters reached base safely. Heidi Hinklin and Nikki Haslock both hit RBI singles and the two of them later scored on a throwing error by Vaqueros catcher Lauren Larabell.

The Cougars were in control 5-1 by the end of the frame.

“I feel we got the better sticks throughout, and it showed,” Wissmath said.

Armed with a comfortable lead, Lockhart went back to work, striking out a total of 10 hitters and allowing only one more run when Bryn Thompson scored on an error in the fifth.

“I just kind of re-thought everything,” Lockhart said of playing with the lead. “I tried to throw more strikes and I was going with my change-up more at the end just to keep them off balance.”

COC added on in the sixth inning when Correa’s fly ball to shallow center field dropped in to score Jenny Wunderlich in the sixth.

Three batters later, Caitlyn Zimmerman was hit by Vaqueros starter Celeste Acosta with the bases loaded to round out the scoring.
Acosta gave up two earned runs on the day and pitched a total of 3 1/3 innings with reliever Alyse Harris pitching 2 2/3 in the middle.

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