Softball: Itzel Soto ends game on walk-off home run

Itzel Soto is mobbed by teammates after her walk-off home run
Itzel Soto is mobbed by teammates after her walk-off home run

Freshman outfielder Itzel Soto (Long Beach Millikan HS) launched a three-run game-winning home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Cerritos College softball team a 6-3 non-conference win over Santiago Canyon College on Sophomore Day at Nancy Kelly Field on Saturday. The win by the Falcons (19-18) moves them up to #14 in the Southern California RPI rankings and have two games left on their regular season schedule. The team will host South Coast Conference champion El Camino College at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday in their final conference game and then travel to Grossmont College on Wednesday in a rescheduled game from earlier in the year.

Trailing early, 3-0, Cerritos started to battle back and scored a single run in the bottom of the third inning on an infield hit, while putting two runs on the board in the fourth inning to tie the game.

Itzel Soto is greeted by head coach Kodee Murray after her walk-off home run In the bottom of the seventh inning, freshman outfielder Haley Davis (Mayfair HS) led off with a double off the left field fence and moved to third base on a perfectly placed bunt by sophomore shortstop Tena Spoolstra (Mayfair HS). After sophomore designated player Kayla Hernandez (Santa Fe HS) was intentionally walked, Soto drilled an 0-1 pitch over the fence for her first home run of the season and second walk-off hit of the year. Soto also had a walk-off hit in a 4-3 win over Ventura Collegeback on March 1.

Freshman starting pitcher Skyler Swearingen (Mayfair HS), who started off the day by singing the National Anthem, allowed two solo home runs in the top of the first inning but settled down. She was victimized by a two-out error in the third inning that allowed the third run to score. But in the final four innings, Swearingen (8-11) scattered three hits including a one-out double to Gillian Dykier in the seventh inning. She followed with a a pair of groundouts to end the threat.

In the fourth inning, Soto led off with a walk and moved to second base on a single up the middle by sophomore outfielder Victoria Medina (Whittier HS/Rio Hondo College). After a single by sophomore catcher Deja Sendejas (El Rancho HS) loaded the bases, freshman second baseman Erica Martinez (Kennedy HS) singled up the middle to drive in the first run, while a two-out walk to Davis brought in the second run of the inning.

Photos by Daryl Peterson