YUMA, Ariz. – The Arizona Western College softball team wrapped up the home portion of its season on Saturday afternoon. The Lady Mats topped GateWay Community College 4-1 and 9-1 (in five innings) for a sweep with one road series remaining on the season.
Game one was tight between the two teams as both offenses combined for eight hits. AWC (35-20 overall, 27-19 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) squeezed one run across in the first inning for an early lead. Allison Betty led off with a double and went to third on an error. Betty took off for home when Jessica Alvarez squeezed her in with a bunt for a 1-0 lead.
GateWay (10-39 overall, 7-36 ACCAC) tied the game in the third inning when Angel Orneles blasted a solo home run to left field. It was her first homer of the season.
The Lady Mats took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth inning. With Sally Gastelo on third and two outs, McKenna Pisciotte rocked an RBI double to left-center field that made it 2-1.
In the fifth inning, the Lady Mats added two more. Betty led off with a single and stole second. Alisha Diaz was hit, and back-to-back wild pitches scored Betty and sent Diaz to third. After Alvarez walked to put runners on the corners, Gastelo hit a grounder to short that scored Diaz from third on the RBI fielder’s choice for a 4-1 lead.
Belinda Gonzalez (19-10) was strong in the circle to pick up the win. She struck out five while allowing one run on three hits in seven innings without a walk.
Serenida Marquez (1-8) took the loss for GateWay. She allowed four runs on five hits and pitched into the fifth inning. She walked two and struck out three.
In game two, the Lady Mats took the lead in the second inning and didn’t look back. With the bases loaded and two outs, Betty hit a soft blooper to shallow right field for a two-run single and a 2-0 lead.
Four more Lady Matador runs crossed in the third inning. With runners on second and third and one out, Erika Mercado whacked a double deep to right field to make it 4-0. She went to third on a wild pitch. With two outs, Caylin Espericueta popped up, but GWCC’s pitcher Dominique Payne couldn’t make the running catch. Mercado took advantage and scored from third on the error. Espericueta went to second when Betty was hit by a pitch, and Diaz sent her home with a single to shallow left-center field for a 6-0 lead.
The AWC pushed the lead to 9-0 in the fourth inning. The Lady Mats loaded the bases, and an illegal pitch was called to plate one run. Isabel Sanchez then scored a second run with a sacrifice fly to left field. Espericueta hit a single to left field to plate one more.
GateWay’s Sarah Duncklee managed a solo home run to straightaway center field in the top of the fifth, but that was it. It was her first homer of the season.
Karly Turner (6-5) only allowed three hits in the circle for AWC. She pitched all five innings and allowed one run without issuing a walk while striking out five.
Dominique Payne (4-18) took the loss for GateWay. She pitched into the fourth inning and allowed nine runs on 10 hits while walking three and striking out one.
The Lady Mats close the season at Eastern Arizona College next Saturday. The doubleheader is scheduled to start at noon in Thatcher, Ariz.
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 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.