By: Joshua Gerard Gargiulo
PHOENIX - Phoenix College softball shines an impressive 19-3 record following two, tough-fought home double-header against Arizona Western College and Pima Community College.
Last Tuesday, they split the series with AWC; as they won the first game and dropped the second, before they swept Pima on Saturday.
Arizona Western was carrying a 15-0 conference record as they headed into Tuesday’s match-up; a single-game separated the Matadors and Bears in conference play.
Phoenix College Pitcher, Briana Hardy was pitching an immaculate game through 3 2/3rds. Until a two-out rally from the Matadors, which produced homeruns by Michelle Roldan and Reina Tsuma that pushed them ahead by three.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Phoenix College failed to get on the board. This was good news for the Matadors; it seemed like a switch was flipped, as the intensity reached a new-high the recent events.
Head coach Heinz Mueller took a risk by keeping Hardy in, and the reigning “Player-of-the-week” found a second-wind by striking-out the side in the fifth. The Lady Bears added two runs, in the bottom half, to bring them within one.
Hardy followed up a strong fifth by blanking the Matadors again in the sixth inning. She kept the ball rolling, when with the bases loaded, she hammered a grand slam in the bottom half of the inning. The aid of her teammates added two more to the scoreboard, as Hardy went on to complete her sixth complete game and moved to 10-0 on the season.
The second game of Tuesday’s double-header saw the Bears’ offense sputter, as they failed to get on the board until the 4th inning. It did not help that PC was already trailing 5-0 by the start of the 3rd; the Matadors early lead ultimately being their pitfall in a 5-3 loss.
Despite suffering a home defeat to a top-class rival; the Bears sit a mere one-game off of the top-spot, held by AWC. Phoenix College is tied with Yavapai for second-place in the ACCAC; the Bears and Roughriders will likely “break the tie” in tomorrow’s double-header, set the kick-off at Noon- in Prescott.
Last Saturday’s affair against Pima was not a typical Heinz Mueller softball game. Phoenix College combined for 20 hits and three doubles, however, they also recorded 13 RBIs and tied a season-low three strike-out game.
The first of two games ended with the Bears blanking Pima, 7-0, behind RBIs from Ela Henry, Jocellyn LaFlesch and Nicole Villa. A 20-strikeout game from Briana Hardy had fans mostly watching a complex game of catch.
Number Two Pitcher Madison Wattis received the start for Game two. In a three-inning outing, she recorded three strikeouts and walked two batters. A nagging arm seemed to cut her day short; Hardy came on “in relief” and anchored the final four.
This occurrence led to Hardy recording her 11th and 12th wins, with 26-total strikeouts on the day. Along with two more home-runs and four RBIs in her six, total, plate appearances.
Phoenix College closed the doors on Pima after a late-game rally in the Bottom of the 6th inning, winning 7-3.
Bears’ Softball is on the road against Yavapai tomorrow. They return home on Thursday and Saturday, for games against Midland College and Paradise Valley Community College- respectively. Both games have start times of 12 & 2pm. Tickets are $5 for Adults, $3 for Student w/ ID, and free for PC students. Phoenix College is located at 1202 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85013.