SIGNAL PEAK — After overcoming some early jitters to post a come-from-behind victory in Game 1, the Central Arizona College softball team completed a doubleheader sweep of Glendale with a no-doubt win in Game 2 on Tuesday.
CAC's 2019 home opener was a rousing success as the Vaqueras defeated the Gauchos 7-6 and 10-2. The second game ended in the fifth inning under the eight-run rule.
Ariday Lopez singled with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning of the opener to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs. The game ended with left fielder Justeen Vasquez throwing out a runner at the plate.
The Vaqueras (9-2, 2-0 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) scored five runs in the second inning of Game 2 and tacked on four in the fourth to back pitcher Baylee Eaton, who struck out five and walked none.
Aliya Ewell went 5 for 5 with four RBIs on the day, drilling two triples and two doubles.
"We were a little flat and sloppy in the first three innings of the first game," CAC coach Shelby Davis said. "Maybe it was nerves. But then we started playing good softball and that set the tone for the second game."
Glendale (5-3, 0-2 ACCAC) owned leads of 3-1, 5-3 and 6-4 in the opener. The Vaqueras scored an unearned run in the fifth to make it 6-5, but wound up leaving the bases loaded. They loaded the bases once again in the sixth against Glendale pitcher Mallory McDowell, and this time Lopez came through.
CAC reliever Devan Dickson held the Gauchos to one run in the final four innings after giving up two runs in the third. In addition to her game-ending assist, Vasquez had three nice running catches for putouts under the difficult windy conditions.
"Our outfielders stepped up and made some big plays for us," Davis said.
Ewell tripled with one out in the bottom of the first to drive in Thomas, who led off with a triple.
The Gauchos answered with three in the second on a bases-loaded walk to Dezerea Licudine (one of its five free passes in the game), Katelyn Kubitschek's RBI single and a run-scoring groundout by Julia Olibarria.
After Central made it 3-3 in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Vasquez and Ewell's run-scoring double, Glendale got a two-run double from Bibiana Acosta in the third.
Roman's RBI double in the bottom of the third pulled CAC within 5-4. Back-to-back doubles by Alyssa Stachura and Acosta in the fifth put the Gauchos up 6-4. Lopez had an RBI single in the Central fifth.
"Once we got more patient at the plate and trusted our ability, we found good pitches to hit," Davis said.
Eaton limited Glendale to five hits — one of which Cassidy Young's two-run double — in Game 2. Davis said the left-hander fell behind in the count just once.
"She was attacking their hitters," Davis said.
The Vaqueras batted around in the second, taking advantage of an error to prolong the rally. The key hits were Isabel Gallo's two-run single, an RBI double by Ewell and run-scoring singles by Danielle Farinas and Thomas.
The hit by Thomas was a screaming liner to the chest of pitcher Alicia Arriola, who left the game under her own power.
CAC strung together four consecutive hits in the fourth with the last three being an RBI double by Thomas, an RBI single by Lopez and a run-scoring triple by Ewell.
The game ended in the fifth on Vasquez's RBI groundout after Farinas led off with a double, Gallo singled and the runners advanced on a wild pitch.
The Vaqueras collected 10 hits, getting two apiece from Thomas, Ewell, Farinas and Gallo.
Central did not commit an error in either game.