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COC softball learns playoff matchup

Posted: April 26, 2014 8:56 p.m.
Updated: April 26, 2014 8:56 p.m.

COC's Ashley Sandoval-Colon is an All-Conference first team selection as a sophomore. Photo courtesy of COC Sports Information

 

This is a good time of year for College of the Canyons softball.

For a team that seems to get better as a season wears on in recent history, the postseason has officially arrived.

COC found out it will be a No. 14 seed in the California Community College Athletic Association Softball Southern California Regional with the release of the playoff brackets on Saturday.

The Cougars (22-17) will travel to face the No. 3 seed College of the Desert (34-6) in a best-of-three series beginning on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Palm Desert.

The College of the Desert Roadrunners were champions of the Foothill Conference with a perfect 15-0 record.

COC was crowned co-champion of the Western State Conference, Blue Division, which is the team’s third straight conference title.

“I feel pretty good about going in there and at least being competitive,” said COC head coach John Wissmath of the playoff matchup. “That’s really what we want these girls to do because they’re so young. I have three starting sophomores and the rest are freshman.”

After Saturday’s game, the second contest of the series will be played the following day at noon and, if necessary, a third game will follow directly after that.

The winner of the series advanced to the Southern California Super Regional, which is made up of four teams and hosted by the highest seed.

COC made it to the Super Regional round each of the last two years, but fell short of advancing to the state finals both times.

Despite the fact that most of the key players from those teams have moved on from COC, the team still managed to surge late this season after a rough start and march into the postseason.

“That is always a key for us and that’s what I talk to the girls about a lot is, ‘Hey, we need to finish strong,’” Wissmath said.

The Cougars began the season 3-6 against a tough non-conference scheduled, but bounced back and finished 17-4 against WSC South teams, tying with Citrus for the best mark in the conference.

COC put three players, all sophomores, on the All-Conference first team.

Those players were catcher Adrianna Correa, outfielder Ashley Sandoval-Colon and utility player Karlee Bickford.

Correa is fifth in the state with 12 home runs and she leads the team with 41 RBIs and is second on team with a .423 batting average. Sandoval-Colon is batting .416 with 34 RBIs and six home runs and Bickford is hitting .412 with 37 RBIs and five home runs.

Other than those three, all of COC’s starters are freshmen.

Three of those freshmen were named to the All-Conference second team: pitcher Morgan Simmons, infielder Kori Cochran and outfielder Venise Elisara.

This young, promising team will get a chance to see if it can make a third straight run in the playoffs.

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