Softball: Milestone win sends Falcons to Super Regional

The Cerritos softball team celebrates head coach Kodee Murray winning her 500th game and advancing to the Super Regional
The Cerritos softball team celebrates head coach Kodee Murray winning her 500th game and advancing to the Super Regional

The Cerritos College softball team powered their way into the Southern California Super Regional, with a 9-1, six-inning win over visiting Citrus College to sweep their best-of-3 series. The Falcons (28-13) hit five home runs - three in the sixth inning - to send them to the next round, which will be a four-team double-elimination tournament next weekend to see who advances to the CCCAA State Championships.

If the top eight seeds advance, the Falcons will play at #2-seeded Mt. San Antonio College, along with #3-seeded El Camino College and #6-seeded Antelope Valley College. The Super Regional will take place next Friday through Sunday.

Head coach Kodee Murray won her 500th game Not only did the win advance the #7-seeded Falcons to the next round, it was also the 500th win for head coach Kodee Murray, who is in her 16th season at the helm. Murray (pictured, left) now sports a 500-196-3 record and is just two wins away from tying the college's all-time leader, Nancy Kelly, who went 502-320-1 in her 22 seasons as the head coach.

Although the game will be remembered for the five home runs hit by the Falcons, it was the work of sophomore pitcher Kristen Voller (Norco HS) that kept a powerful Owls team in check for two days. On Saturday, Voller allowed one run (unearned) on just four hits and struck out five batters. She shut down Jade Nua, the power hitter for Citrus, and issued her a walk in the first inning, while striking her out looking in the third inning and a lazy fly out in the sixth inning. In the series, Nua, who entered with a .615 batting average, along with 16 home runs and 62 RBI, went 0-for-7 with one walk.

By contrast, Cerritos was putting up huge numbers against the Owls pitchers and got things started in the second game with a four-run third inning. After sophomore outfielder Kimberly Olivas (Warren HS) led off with a single up the middle, freshman catcher Briana Lopez (NorwalkHS) hit her first of two home runs to put the Falcons in the lead, 2-1. Sophomore shortstop Kylee Brown (Mayfair HS) followed on the next pitch with a solo home run, her 17th of the year. The inning continued with an error, which set up and RBI single by freshman second baseman Emma Wolff (Mayfair HS), her first of two on the day.

Leading 5-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, Olivas got things started when her deep fly ball to left field was initially caught by Mia Escobar, but she was unable to maintain control and the ball dropped over the fence for a solo home run. And, for the second time on the day, the Falcons hit back-to-back home runs, as Lopez drilled a shot to deep center field, her 10th of the season. Brown recorded an infield single, which was followed by a game-ending two-run, opposite field home run by freshman third baseman Carly Gutierrez (Santa Fe HS).

The Falcons pounded out 13 hits, with Lopez, Olivas, Brown Gutierrez and Wolff all collected a pair of hits in the win. Eight of the nine players in the lineup had at least one hit.

Photos by Daryl Peterson