YUMA, Ariz. – A pitcher’s duel can hinge on one or two plays, and the Arizona Western College softball team made those plays in game one of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. The Lady Mats (32-13 overall, 26-8 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) eked out a 2-0 win over Central Arizona College (26-17 overall, 18-14 ACCAC) behind a strong effort from Koryne Coddington in the circle and timely hits. In game two, Central Arizona jumped out to an early lead, and the Lady Mats didn’t get the same timely hits in a 7-4 loss.
Coddington (13-7) kept CAC off balance at the plate throughout game one. She didn’t allow multiple hits in an inning and never let a runner reach third base. The freshman only gave up five hits without issuing a walk through seven innings. She struck out two.
The Lady Matador offense also was off balance and didn’t record a hit until the fifth inning. With two outs, Michelle Roldan broke through by pummeling a change-up to the wall in left-center field for a double. She went to third on a line drive single by Coddington to put runners on first and third. Isabel Sanchez blooped a single into shallow left field to score Roldan for a 1-0 lead.
In the sixth, Makenna Stram led off with a triple to left-center field. Aylin Campa drove a line drive to centerfield, and the sacrifice sent Stram home for a 2-0 lead.
Kyrstan Garcia (14-5) took the loss in the circle for Central Arizona. She allowed four hits and both runs in six innings while striking out five.
In game two, Central Arizona jumped out to an early three-run lead and made it stick. Katelynn Duillo and Alliah Rangel both beat out infield singles to start the game, and Garcia launched a home run over the left field wall. Her third homer of the season made it 3-0.
AWC loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning with two outs, and Roldan singled in a run to cut the lead to 3-1. Roldan went 3-3 in the game and has reached base safely in 39 straight games. The Lady Mats left the bases loaded though, and leaving runners on base became a constant theme. The Lady Mats left 10 runners on in the game.
In the third inning, CAC pushed the lead back up to three. With runners on first and second and one out, Madison Besaw hit a ball down the third base line that was ruled fair off Roldan’s glove. The error scored the lead runner.
AWC answered in the bottom half of the inning. Allison Betty led off with a double, and she tagged up when Jessica Alvarez hit a fly ball to right field. The throw into the infield was off target, and Betty raced home to cut it to 4-2.
CAC started the fourth inning with back-to-back singles, and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out. A sacrifice fly to right field by Makiya Thomas put CAC back up by three, 5-2.
In the fifth inning, Central Arizona added two more runs. A double, single and walk loaded the bases to start the inning. Stram struck out one, but a pinch-hit single by Savannah Willis knocked in two runs and made it 7-2.
The Lady Mats knocked in one run in the fifth. With one out, Roldan hit a hard, low line drive that one-hopped out of the second baseman’s glove and scored Alvarez from third.
With a runner on in the bottom of the sixth, Stram sent a line drive just past the outstretched glove of Rangel at second base. It rolled to the wall, and Stram cruised to third with an RBI triple that cut the lead to 7-4.
Stram (17-6) took the loss in the circle. She allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings while walking four and striking out two. Kanani Vizcarra came on in relief and retired the last seven batters.
Lauren Shirley (3-3) picked up the win for CAC. She only allowed four runs on 11 hits while walking three and striking out one.
The Lady Mats are on the road on Tuesday at Glendale Community College. The doubleheader starts at 1:00 p.m.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.