Palomar's Leah Gordon, who has accepted a D-II scholarship to Regis University, gets a squeeze bunt down to drive in a run in an 11-3 victory over Long Beach City College last February. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
PC's Gordon accepts scholarship at mid-year
SAN MARCOS (11-19-2015) --Leah Gordon, the starting catcher for Palomar's 2015 state community college championship softball team as a freshman, has accepted a scholarship to NCAA Division II Regis University in Denver and will transfer after the fall semster.
Gordon, a Rancho Bernardo High School product, hit .347 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference last season and .273 overall as the Comets went 41-4-1 and won both their 32nd conference championship and fifth state title (and second in the last three years under coach Lacey Craft). Gordon was selected to the all-state tournament team and was second-team All-PCAC.
"(Gordon) worked hard to finish her AA degree this semester and Regis had an immediate need for a catcher at the semester," Craft said. "Leah was a perfect fit. Regis has a nationally ranked business school, and that's her major. I'm proud she put herself in a position, both athletically and academically, to give herself this opportunity.
"Leah would have been one of five returning sophomores for the 2016 season and will be tough to replace behind the plate, not just because of her skil set, but because she has great leadership qualities on the field and loves to compete."
Regis had a 32-19 record last season, won the Rocky Mountain Conference Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Division II regionals where the Rangers eventually were eliminated with St. Mary's of Texas.
Other players from the 2015 team to accept scholarships are shortstop Kali Pugh (Oklahoma City University), centerfielder K.K. Fronda (Universith of Utah), left fielder Stephanie Koishor (Oklahoma City), first baseman/pitcher Kristina Carbajal (Holy Names University) and right fielder/pitcher Maci Lerno, who landed at Cumberland University on a volleyball scholarship and was a first-team all-conference selection this fall.
2015 Season ...
ABOVE:Palomar centerfielder K.K. Fronda has received a scholarship to play in the Pac-12 for the University of Utah -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Fronda to Utah; Pugh to Oklahoma City
SAN MARCOS (7-23-2015) --All five Palomar softball sophomores have received scholarships, including centerfielder K.K. Fronda who is headed to the Pac-12 and the University of Utah.
Fronda is one of two first-team all-state selections who landed scholarships. Kali Pugh, the other all-state pick, will play for Oklahoma City University, which was 55-6 in 2015 and was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the NAIA before being upset in its National Tournament regional championship game.
Pugh, a Rancho Buena Vista High product, hit .517 to lead the Comets with 12 doubles, 7 triples, 15 home runs and 65 RBIs. Fronda, who came to Palomar from Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park, CA, hit .451 with 12 doubles, 6 triples, 4 homers and 36 RBIs.
All five sophomores on coach Lacey Craft's team, which went 41-4-1 and won Palomar's fifth California state softball championship, landed scholarships.
The other sophomore transfers are leftfielder Stephanie Koishor to Oklahoma City, first baseman/pitcher Kristina Carbajal to D-II Holy Names University of Oakland and rightfielder/pitcher Maci Lerno who received a volleyball to the NAIA's Cumberland University of Tennessee.
Palomar's Summer Evans has been named California Community College Female Athlete of the Month for May for all sports after pitching the Comets to their fifth CCCAA State Championship. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Evans is California Athlete of Month for May
SACRAMENTO (6-18-2015) --Palomar right-hander Summer Evans, a freshman from Escondido High School, has been selected as California Community College Athletic Associatin Female Athlete of the Month for May for all sports after pitching the Comets to their fifth CCCAA State fast-pitch chamionship.
Evans started eight of nine postseason games played by Palomar in May, compliling a 7-1 postseason record for the month with a 1.14 earned-run average over 49 innings. She was honored as Most Valuable Pitcher in the State Championship Final Four at Bakersfield College.
The Comets went 41-4-1 for the season in winning the state title.
ABOVE:Palomar is CCCAA state champion for the fifth time. Courtesy photo. BELOW LEFT: State Tournament Most Valuable Player Iesha Hill. BELOW RIGHT: State Tournament Most Valuable Pitcher Summer Evans. Not Pictured: Kali Pugh, who won the Gold Glove Award as the tournament's outstanding defensive player
Work ethic carries Palomar to fifth state title
BAKERSFIELD (5-17-2015) -- There was a common line of thought amongst the players for the Palomar College softball team: Hard work produces championships.
The Comets secured their second California Community College Athletic Association state championship in three years by stopping College of San Mateo, 5-1, in the deciding game of the state finals on Sunday at Bakersfield College.
"We had the team chemistry," said sophomore shortstop Kali Pugh, who earned the Gold Glove award as the top fielder for the state tournament. "And we all had hard-work ethics that made it happen."
Pugh was one of five sophomores returning from a 2014 Palomar team that went undefeated in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference play and swept San Bernardino Valley in the first round, only to be eliminated in the Super Regionals by two quick losses to Cerritos and Santa Ana.
Another returning sophomore this season was center fielder Keilani "KK" Fronda, who was also named to the state all-tournament team along with Pugh and seven other Palomar players.
"After what happened last year, we worked so hard all fall," said Fronda, who had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run in Palomar's title-clinching victory over the Bulldogs. "All of the workouts, all of the four-hour practices. I have never played with such a dedicated group.
"It's very special. When you work with people that dedicated, it rubs off."
After winning their third consecutive PCAC championship with a 17-1 record, the Comets reeled off five straight playoff victories as the top seed in the Southern California Regionals. Wins included first-round triumphs over Cuesta by the scores of 13-0 and 21-4, and Super Regional victories over Cerritos (12-3), El Camino (10-2) and El Camino again (6-1).
The Comets opened the state tournament with a 1-0 win over Big 8 Conference champion Cosumnes River, and the following day Palomar handed the North's top seed, College of San Mateo, its first loss of the season, 5-1, following 41 straight victories.
San Mateo, the Coast North champions, rebounded with an elimination-game victory over Cypress to earn another shot at Palomar in the finals. While the Comets were making their 11th appearance in the state finals, it was the first for San Mateo. But the Bulldogs remained alive by scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, claiming a 2-1 victory to force a deciding winner-take-all game.
"We just needed to keep it interesting," Pugh said about losing to the Bulldogs, only the fourth loss of the season for Palomar in 46 games. "We wanted to give everybody a show."
The show went on for the Comets, who for the second straight game posted a first-inning run against CSM. Fronda's leadoff single to right field was followed by a walk to Pugh and a fly ball to right by Brooke Huddleson to advance Fronda to third. A wild pitch by San Mateo's Lauren Berriatua brought home Fronda with the game's first run.
San Mateo also scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first inning to tie the score at 1-1, but that was the only run allowed by Palomar freshman pitcher Summer Evans. It was Evans who also drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the fifth inning. Stephanie Koishor, who hit a long home run to left field in the first win over San Mateo, led off the inning with a single but was forced out at second base on a grounder by Kristina Carbajal.
After Leah Gordon reached on an error, Evans lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to score Carbajal for a 2-1 Palomar lead. Fronda then followed with a two-out RBI single to score Gordon.
The Comets added to their lead with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Huddleson singled to lead off the sixth and took third on a double by Iesha Hill before scoring on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Carbajal. A two-out RBI single by Sara Rodriguez scored Evans with Palomar's final run of the season after the Palomar pitcher led off the seventh inning with a single to left.
Evans was named Most Valuable Pitcher of the state tournament. She pitched a two-hit shutout against Cosumnes River in the first game of the tournament before limiting a hard-hitting San Mateo team that led the state in batting with a .419 team average to just six hits in their first matchup.
Evans allowed only five hits in the 2-1 loss to CSM, and then stopped the Bulldogs on six hits in the finale. San Mateo loaded the bases with one out on three hits in the third inning, but Evans induced Bulldogs catcher Leilani Makai to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play turned by Pugh and Huddleson to end the threat.
Evans retired 13 of the final 15 batters she faced.
"I was a little nervous out there, but I tried
to stay calm," said Evans, who finished the season
with a 29-4 record. "I knew my team was behind me,
just like they have been all season.
Hill, a freshman third baseman, was named the Most Valuable Player of the state tournament. Her RBI double that scored Pugh accounted for the game's only run in the 1-0 victory over Cosumnes River.
"It's an unreal feeling," said Hill. who batted .333 for the tournament (4-for-12) with three doubles and two RBIs. "It's good to see all the heart put in by all of our players.
"After we lost, we realized we had to come out harder for the next one."
Also named to the state all-tournament team were sophomore left fielder Koishor, sophomore first baseman Carbajal, freshman second baseman Huddleson, freshman catcher Gordon, and freshman designated player Rodriguez.
Head coach Lacey Craft, who now has won two state titles in her first five years at the helm of the Comets, echoed the hard-work theme.
"We recruited hard-working players," Craft said after the title-clinching victory over San Mateo. "This is a tight-knit group, and we got lucky to get some real tough kids.
"I can't say enough about Summer on the mound. She has been a big piece of our success. That San Mateo team has a lot of threats all the way down the lineup, and she kept it close."
The Bulldogs finished the season with just two losses in 45 games, both coming against the Comets at the state tournament.
Palomar concluded the 2015 campaign with a 41-4-1 record, and Craft has high hopes for next year as well.
"We are losing five real good sophomores," Craft said, "but we had a lot of talented freshmen this year and I'm looking forward to another strong recruiting class."
The state championship is Palomar's fifth overall in the 39-year history of the program. The only school with more state crowns is Cypress with eight. The Comets also claimed state crowns in 1989, 1993 and 2000 under head coach Mark Eldridge, and again in 2013 and 2015 under the tutelage of Craft.
-- Above written by Rick Hoff, sports writer and Palomar P.A. announcer
ABOVE:The Comets celebrate after ruining College of San Mateo's undefeated season and advancing to the state championship game. -- Courtesy photo. BELOW: Brooke Huddleson, who went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
PC ends 41-0 San Mateo run; title game next
BAKERSFIELD (5-16-2015) -- Palomar's softball team reached the CCCAA State Championship game for the 11th time on Saturday, defeating College of San Mateo 5-1 to snap the Bulldogs' 41-game winning streak and handing them their first loss of the season.
The Comets are one win away from their fifth state softball championship. They've previously won state titles in 1989, 1993, 2000 and 2013.
They'll play San Mateo again on Sunday at noon for the state championship. The Bulldogs would have to beat the Comets twice to win the tournament. In Saturday's late afternoon and evening games, Cypress eliminated Cosumnes River 5-2 and San Mateo then eliminated Cypress 4-2.
Summer Evans pitched her second straight Final Four complete-game victory, cooling off San Mateo's red-hot bats with a six-hitter.
Offensively, the Comets got to the Bulldogs' Lauren Berriatua, who came into the game with a 27-0 win-loss record, for all five of their runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings after Berriatua relieved starter Lacie Crawford with one out in the third inning.
Brooke Huddleson doubled to left field, driving in Kali Pugh and Randee Burkle, to give Palomar a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. The Comets added one run in the fourth inning, when Stephanie Koiser homered, and two more runs in the fifth on RBIs by Pugh (on a fielder's choice) and Iesha Hill (on a single). K.K. Fronda and Sara Rodriguez also had hits for Palomar.
The Bulldogs knocked out back-to-back singles with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning but Pugh, at shortstop, leaped in the air to spear Harlee Donovan's line drive for the game's final out.
Evans, Comets win 1-0 on Hill's RBI double
BAKERSFIELD (5-15-2015) -- Iesha Hill (left) doubled all the way to the fence in leftfield in the bottom of the fifth inning Friday night, driving in the only run of the game as Palomar beat Cosumnes River 1-0 in a CCCAA State Community College Tournament Final Four opener.
Hill's hit scored Kali Pugh, who was aboard on an error.
Summer Evans (right) pitched a three-hit shutout, striking out four and walking two to go to 28-3 on the year as the Comets advanced to 39-3-1. Palomar moves on to a 3 p.m. game Saturday in the three-day, double-elimination event against College of San Mateo, which advanced to 41-0 on the season in the Friday's first game by outlasting Cypress 4-3.
Palomar had some big defensive plays. Stephanie Koisher made a diving catch in left field to rob the Hawks Raechel Hooper of a hit for the third out in the top of the third.
Right fielder Maci Lerno gunned down Cosumnes' Christin Stein trying to score from second base for the third out in the top of the fourth.
And Pugh came up big again defensively at shortstop.
The winner will advance to a 3 p.m. game Saturday in the three-day, double-elimination event against College of San Mateo, which advanced to 41-0 on the season in the Friday's first game by outlasting Cypress 4-3.
Palomar's Dana Tanaka is being inducted into the California Community College Softball Hall of Fame. -- File photo
Hall of Fame honor for PC great Tanaka
BAKERSFIELD (5-14-2015) -- Dana Tanaka, the first great pitcher of the Mark Eldridge era at Palomar, is being inducted into the state Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2015 by the California Community College Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association during the CCCAA State Championship Final Four weekend.
Tanaka's is one of four players being inducted at Thursday evening's banquet for the four teams competing in the double-elimination event at Bakersfield College. Tanaka's alma mater, Palomar, the top seed out of Southern California, will play Cosumnes River College in its first game on Friday at 8 p.m. Unbeaten Northern California No. 1 seed College of San Mateo faces Cypress at 5:30 p.m.
In the fledgling years of the sport on the community college level in California, Tanaka came out of Vista High School to compile an ERA of 0.21 in 1980 and 0.09 in 1981. Her two-year career ERA at Palomar, 0.13, remains a Palomar record, just ahead of eventual Oklahoma State All-American and U.S. National Team player Kim Ward's career 0.15.
Tanaka led the Comets to a 24-5 win-loss record (17-1 to win the championship in the old Mission Conference) in 1980. The following season, Tanaka led Palomar to a 36-4 record (18-0 to win the Mission). Tanaka accepted a scholarship to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she finished her college softball career.
She was inducted into the Palomar College Athletic hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class in 2012.
This year's double-elimination Final Four will continue on Saturday and run through Sunday.
Comets' Hill is PCAC Women's Athlete of Week
SAN DIEGO (5-12-2015) --Palomar softball player Iesha Hillhas been selected by the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference as Women's Athlete of the Week for all sports for the two-week period that ended Monday.
Hill, a freshman third baseman from Carlsbad High School, has been on fire as the Comets have rolled into this weekend's CCCAA State final Four with a 38-3-1 record. In regional and Super-Regional play the last two weekends, she's batted .750, going 12-for-16 in five games with 10 runs scored, two doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs.
Hill went 4-for-4 with a double, 2 home runs and 4 RBIs in a 9-1 win over Cuesta. She came right back with a 2-for-4 performance as the Comets beat the Cougars again 21-4 to sweep the teams' regional series 2 games to 0.
Over the weekend, Palomar hosted a four-team Super Regional and Hill went 1-for-2 and drove in two runs on Friday in a 12-3 victory over Cerritos. She went 3-for-3 with a home run and an RBI in a 10-2 rout of El Camino. And she was 2-for-3 with a double and 2 RBIs in a 6-1 win over the Warriors on Monday.
In Palomar's last nine games, Hill has hit .710, going 22-for-31 with 14 runs scored, 6 doubles, 6 home runs and 17 RBIs. In that span, the Comets have outscored their opponents 92 runs to 13.
ABOVE:Iesha Hill rounds third on the way to scoring on Sara Rodriguez' two-run double in the first inning in Monday's 6-1 victory over El Camino which wrapped up Palomr's Super Regional title. BELOW: Summer Evans delivers a pitch on the way to her 26th win. -- Photos by Hugh Cox
Palomar wins again, moves on to Final Four
SAN MARCOS (5-11-2015) -- With a 6-1 victory over visiting El Camino College on Monday, Palomar took home another Super Regional title and qualified for its 19th appearance in the California Community College Championships this upcoming weekend.
The Comets (38-3-1) will play Sacramento's Cosumnes River College (31-11-1) on Friday at 8 p.m. at Bakersfield College Softball Stadium, following a 5:30 p.m. game between College of San Mateo (40-0) and Cypress (37-8).
Summer Evans (26-3) pitched a complete-game six-hitter against the Warriors, striking out six and walkng two.
Palomar took a 4-0 first-inning lead on a pair of two-run doubles by Iesha Hill and Sara Rodriguez and never looked back. The Comets tacked on two more runs in the fifth on Stephanie Koisher's two-run single.
Evans was helped along by two huge defensive plays. Maci Lerno gunned out El Camino's Marissa Padi at the plate in the third inning as she attempted to score from second on Kathy Orozco's single. Shortstop Kali Pugh went into straightaway leftfield to catch a deep pop-up Jacqueline Gonzalez for the third out in the fifth inning.
Iesha Hill (2-for-3, double, 2 RBIs), Rodriguez (2-for-3, double, 2 RBIs) and Koisher (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) led the way as the Comets knocked out eight hits off losing pitcher Reina Trejo (16-9). K.K. Fronda and Pugh singled for the other Palomar hits.
El Camino ended its season with a 34-12 record.
ABOVE: El Camino's Danielle Bonsky (14) can't avoid Palomar second baseman Brookie Huddleson's tag. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW:Pitcher Summer Evans, who struck out five batters in five innings to go to 25-3 on the season
Comets are one victory away from Final Four
SAN MARCOS (5-10-2015) --Palomar disposed of El Camino College with a 10-2 run-rule victory on Sunday and is one win away from another Super Regional title and its 19th trip to the State Community College Final Four.
The Comets will play El Camino again at noon Monday for the Super Regional championship. The Warriors, who defeated Citrus 8-7 later Sunday, would have to beat Palomar twice.
Iesha Hill (3-for-3), Kali Pugh (2-for-2) and Brooke Huddleson all homered for the Comets off El Camino pitcher Sierra Gabriel, bringing Palomar's HR total for its four games in the postseason to 14.
Palomar mounted a 12-hit attack. K.K. Fonda also went 2-for-2. Sara Rodriguez and Evans doubled.
The Comets jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, when Huddleson slugged a three-run homer over the leftfield fence. Pugh's three-run HR highlighted a five-run second inning that upped the score to 8-0. Hill's homer was a solo blast in the fourth.
Evans upped her pitching record to 25-3, striking out five in five innings. The game was halted after the Warriors batted in the fifth.
ABOVE: Maci Lerno singles to drive in a Palomar run in the Comets' 12-3 win over Cerritos on Saturday to open Super Regional play. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Kali Pugh (left) and Stephanie Koisher (right), who both homered. Palomar plays El Camino, a 7-2 winner over Citrus, on Sunday at noon.
Comets rock Falcons to open Super-Regional
SAN MARCOS (5-09-2015) -- Kali Pugh slugged a three-run home run in the second inning and Stephanie Koisher added a two-run homer in the third as Palomar run-ruled Cerritos 12-3 on Saturday to open the Southern California Playoffs' Palomar Super-Regional.
The Comets will play El Camino College, a 7-2 winner over Citrus, on Sunday at noon with a chance to advance to Monday's championship game which is slated for noon.
Cerritos and Citrus will play an elimination game at 2 p.m., with the winner remaining alive to face the Palomar-El Camino loser in another elimination game at 4 p.m. The survivor of the losers' bracket would have to beat the Palomar-El Camino winner twice on Monday to win the Super Regional.
Koisher went 2-for-3 with her home run and three RBIs for the Comets in Saturday's game and Kristina Carbajal also was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Pugh went 1-for-2, scored 3 runs, drove in 3 and walked. Iesha Hill was 1-for-2 with two RBIs. Sara Rodriguez and Maci Lerno each singled to drive in a run. Brooke Huddleson also hit safely.
Summer Evans (24-4) recorded the pitching win. The game was halted after Cerritos batted in the top of the fifth.
Palomar, the Southern California No. 1 seed, advanced to 36-3-1. Cerritos fell to 25-18.
ABOVE: Palomar's Maci Lerno slides in safely at third base on Sunday vs. Cuesta. Lerno went 3-for-3 as the Comets won 21-4 to sweep the first Southern California Regional series 2-0. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW:Brooke Huddleson, who slugged two home runs and drove in six runs
Comets finish series with 9 homers, 2-0 sweep
SAN MARCOS (5-03-2015) --Palomar slugged four more home runs and run-ruled visiting Cuesta 21-4 on Sunday, sweeping the teams' first-round Southern California Regional series two games to none.
The No. 1-seeded Comets, who won 13-0 on Saturday, concluded the weekend with 33 hits and nine home runs in two games as they moved on to a four-team, double-elimination Super Regional they'll host next weekend, beginning with a 2 p.m. matchup with Cerritos on Friday. Citrus and El Camino will be the other two teams in the three-day, double-elimination event.
Palomar upped its record to 35-3-1 on the season, while 16th-seeded Cuesta ended the year 14-18.
Huddleson (2-for-4, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs) and Stephanie Koisher (3-for-4, home run, 5 RBIs) paced a 20-hit attack for the Comets. Kali Pugh went 2-for-4 with a homer, walk and 2 RBIs, K.K. Fronda went 3-for-4 with a walk, a steal and 2 RBIs and Maci Lerno was 3-for-3 with a double and was hit by a pitch.
Iesha Hill went 2-for-4 and walked. Amanda Miller doubled with an RBI, Anjelea Stewart doubled, Leah Gordon had a single, a walk and an RBI, Kristina Carbajal singled and walked and Sara Rodriguez singled.
Carbajal went the route on the mound in running her win-loss record to 9-0. The game was halted by the mercy rule after Cuesta batted in the top of the fifth inning.
TOP PHOTO: Second baseman Brooke Huddleson throws out a Cuesta batter for the first out in the third inning on Saturday. -- Photo by Hugh Cox DIRECTLY ABOVE: K.K. Fronda keeps her eye on the ball on a base hit. -- Photo by Deb Hellman. BELOW LEFT:Sara Rodriguez, who cranked two home runs
PC plays Home Run Derby in Regional opener
SAN MARCOS (5-02-2015) -- Palomar played Home Run Derby against Cuesta as the Comets run-ruled visiting Cuesta 13-0 to open the teams' best 2-of-3 Southern California Regional softball series on Saturday.
The top-seeded Comets slugged five homers -- two by Sara Rodriguez.
Kali Pugh, Iesha Hill and Stephanie Koishor had the other homers against the 16th-seeded Cougars.
K.K. Fronda went 3-for-3 with a double, a triple and three runs scored to lead a 13-hit Palomar attack. Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, the two homers and five RBIs. Pugh went 2-for-3 with the HR, two runs scored and one RBI. Hill was 1-for-1 with two runs scored and three RBIs.Koisher drove in three runs. And Kristin Carbajal was 2-for-2, doubled and scored a run. Brooke Huddleson added a single.
The recipient of all the hitting support was Summer Evans, who pitched five inings of two-hit ball, striking out four and walking none. She upped her win-loss record to 4-0.
Palomar took a 2-0 first-inning led, then added four runs in the second, two in the third and four runs in the fourth. The game was halted after 4 1/2 innings.
The teams will resume the series on Sunday at noon. A third game would follow, if necessary.
ABOVE: Palomar's Lacey Craft talks with Hall of Fame coach Mark Eldridge, who has stayed on with his longtime team as an assistant. Craft has been honored as Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Conference Player of the Year Kali Pugh. BELOW RIGHT:PCAC Pitcher of the Year Summer Evans
PC sweeps top PCAC awards; 4 Comets all-state
SAN DIEGO / GLENDORA (4-29-2015) -- Pacific Coast Athletic Conference champion and Southern California No. 1 seed Palomar has swept the three major conference postseason awards. Kali Pugh has been voted Player of the Year by PCAC coaches. Summer Evans is the Pitcher of the Year. And Lacey Craft once again is Coach of the Year.
Six Comets have been voted to the all-conference first team. And four of those six have been selected to the CCCAA all-state first team.
Pugh, Evans, K.K. Fronda and Brooke Huddleson were selected first-team all-state, while Iesha Hill was honored on the All-Southern California (second-team all-state) team. Stephanie Koisher joined those five players on the all-conference first team. Four Palomar players made the All-PCAC second team -- Sara Rodriguez, Leah Gordon, Kristina Carbajal and Maci Lerno.
Comets top-seeded in playoffs, host Cuesta
MISSION VIEJO (4-25-2015) --Palomar's softball squad, the No. 2-ranked team in the state and No. 1 in Southern California most of the season, was seeded first in the Southern California playoffs on Saturday and will open the post season against Cuesta at home next weekend.
Coach Lacey Craft's Comets 33-3-1) will host the Cougars (14-16), the 16th seed, in a best-of-3 series that begins Saturday at 2 p.m. The second game is scheduled for Sunday at noon with a third game, if necessary, to follow at approximately 2 p.m.
Hancock 33-2-1), under former Palomar coach Scia Maumausolo, was seeded second and will be home to 15th-seed San Diego Mesa (17-15) in its first-round regional series. The top eight seeds, all of whom will be at home in the first round, also include No. 3 Cypress (32-8), No. 4 Citrus (30-9), No. 5 El Camino (30-10), No. 6 College of the Canyons (28-10-1), No. 7 Mt. SAC (29-11) and No. 8 Saddleback (26-12).
ABOVE: Sara Rodriguez can't help but crack a smile as she tours the bases following her third home run of the season in Wednesday's 9-1 win over Cerritos. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW:Iesha Hill, who homered twice, doubled, singled and drove in four runs in going 4-for-4
Hill leads HR barrage; PC gets its 33rd win
SAN MARCOS (4-22-2015) -- Home runs flew out of the yard left and right on Wednesday as Palomar concluded a 33-3-1 softball regular season with a 9-1 run-rule victory over visiting non-conference opponent Cerritos.
The Comets slugged four homers, with Iesha Hill (left) slugging her sixth and seventh of the year. Sara Rodriguez hit her third HR of the season and Stephanie Koishor hit her second.
Summer Evans pitched a complete-game two-hitter, striking out six, to go to 22-3 for the year.
Hill finished the afternoon 4-for-4 with the two homers, a double, a single and four RBIs. Brooke Huddleson went 3-for-5 and drove in a run. Koishor (2-4, homer, double, 2 RBIs), Rodriguez (2-for-3, HR, hit-by-pitch, RBI) and Kristina Carbajal (2-for-3, walk) also had multiple hits. Kali Pugh doubled and Evans singled to round out a 15-hit attack.
The eight-run mercy rule came into effect when the Comets scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Coach Lacey Craft's squad, which is ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 1 in Southern California, now awaits the results of Saturday's seeding meeting to find out exactly where it fits in the SoCal playoffs that begin next week.
PC dusts City, ends regular season Wednesday
SAN DIEGO (4-21-2015) -- Champion Palomar ended its Pacific Coast Conference softball season with a 17-1 record by clubbing San Diego City College 14-0 in a five-inning run-rule game on the road on Tuesday.
The state No. 2-ranked Comets (32-3-1 overall) will close out their regular season on Wednesday at 3 p.m. when they host Cerritos in a non-conference game postponed from earlier in the season, then will await the results of Saturday's Southern California seeding meeting.
Kristina Carbajal (left) was the biggest star for Palomar on Tuesday, tormenting the Knights with a five-inning complete-game, four-hit shutout to advance to 8-0 on the season. She also was -for- at the plate with her second home run of the season and three RBIs.
Kali Pugh also went deep, slugging her 11th home run of the season. She also had a sacrifice fly and drove in three runs.
K.K. Fronda (right) went 2-for-3, tripled, walked and drove in a run. Brooke Huddleson went 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk. Iesha Hill (2-for-3, double, RBI), Leah Gordon 92-for-3, w RBIs) and Stephanie Koishor (2-for-3, double) also had multiple-hit games.
Summer Evans was 1-for-2 and drove in two runs. Maci Lerno and Nani Leonui both were 1-for-1.
ABOVE PHOTOS: Iesha Hill lines a single in the third inning to drive in both Palomar runs in a 2-0 win over state No. 9-ranked College of the Canyons in game 1 on Saturday. Kali Pugh scores the second run on the play as COC catcher Lauren Anderson awaits the throw. -- Photos by Hugh Cox.
Evans, state No. 2 PC sweep No. 9 Canyons
SAN MARCOS (4-18-2015) -- Visiting College of the Canyons got an up-close look at Palomar's highly-regarded freshman pitcher Summer Evans on Saturday. It was not a pleasant experience.
Running into freshman third baseman Iesha Hill wasn't much fun either.
Escondido High School product and 21-game winner Evans struck out 19 batters in the teams' non-conference double-header, recording back-to-back complete-game pitching wins as the state No. 2-ranked Comets swept the No. 9-ranked Cougars 2-0 and 9-1.
Hill went 4-for-7 in the doubleheader with her fifth home run of 2015, four singles and five RBIs.
In game 1, Hill singled in the third inning to drive in the only two runs of the game.
Hill then singled to drive in Brookie Huddleson, who had doubled, to end game 2 by mercy rule with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. She'd slugged her fifth homer of 2015 in the previous inning.
Evans shut out the Cougars in game 1 with a 3-hitter, striking out nine. Trailing in the second game 1-0 after a rocky beginning in the top of the first, Evans breezed the rest of the way as she struck out five and advanced to 21-3 on the year.
Huddleson went 3-for-4 with a double and 3 RBIs in game 2. Evans helped her own cause at the plate, going 3-for-3 with singles in the third, fifth and sixth innings and scoring two runs. K.K. Fronda was 2-for-3 and was hit by a pitch.The Comets, trailing 1-0, scored 2 runs in the fourth inning, 5 runs in the fifth and 2 more in the 7th.
Comets win mercy-rule game; Fronda is 5-for-5
IMPERIAL (4-15-2015) -- Led by a 5-for-5 day at the plate by K.K. Fronda (left), Palomar's state No. 2-ranked softball team banged out 25 hits and downed host Imperial Valley 20-2 in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game ended after five innings by mercy rule.
Fronda went 5-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, two singles and two RBIs as the Comets upped their record to 29-3-1 on the year, 16-1 in conference.
Kali Pugh (4-for-4, 2 triples, 2 singles, walk, 5 RBIs), Brooke Huddleson (right, 4-for-4, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs) and Kristina Carbajal (3-for-3, 3 singles, sacrifice fly, RBI) also had perfect days at the plate. Fronda, Pugh and Huddleson combined to go 13-for-13 in the game.
Maci Lerno went 2-for-4 with a triple, single and 3 RBIs. Seven Comet had one hit each -- Iesha Hill with a triple, Randee Burkle and Anjelea Stewart with doubles and Stephanie Koishor, Nani Leonui, Leah Gordon and Sara Rodriguez with singles.
Carbajal went thre first three innings to record the pitching win. She advanced to 7-0. Lerno pitched the last two innings. Both of the Arabs' runs were unearned.
Palomar will host College of the Canyons, which is ranked ninth in the state, in a non-conference doubleheader on Saturday at noon. The Comets and Cougars are ranked first and fifth, respectively in Southern California.
Comets remain No. 1 in SoCal, No. 2 in state
GLENDORA (4-14-2015) -- Palomar has retained its No. 2 ranking in the state in the latest poll conducted by the California Community College Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association.
The Comets (28-3-1 after Thursday's victory on the road over Riverside City College) trail only undefeated College of San Mateo (33-0) from the San Francisco Bay Area in the poll.
Cypress is ranked third. Hancock and Diablo Valley are tied at No. 4.
Palomar and Cypress continue to be ranked 1-2 in Southern California.
Evans, Carbajal throw 2-hit shutout at RCC
RIVERSIDE (4-14-2015) -- Summer Evans (left) and Kristina Carbajal right) combined to throw a two-hit shutout at Riverside City College on Tuesday as Palomar downed the Tigers 3-0 in a non-conference softball game at Brown Field at the Evans Sports Complex.
Evans threw one-hit ball over the first five innings as she upped her record to 19-3. Carbajal came on in relief to notch a save, allowing one hit over the last two innings.
Evans and RCC's Alexis Holman were locked in a scoreless pitching duel through four innings before Brooke Huddleson's two-run single up the middle put the Comets in front in the top of the fifth. Palomar went on to score another run in the seventh on Leah Gordon's sacrifice fly.
Huddleson went 3-for-4 for Palomar, which is ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 1 in Southern California. Evans had a double and a sacrifice bunt. Carbajal and Sara Rodriguez each contributed a single.
State No. 2 Comets, No. 3 Chargers split a pair
SAN MARCOS (4-11-2015) -- State No. 2-ranked Palomar and No. 3 Cypress, the top two teams in Southern California, squared off in a non-conference doubleheader on Saturday and traded victories.
The visiting Chargers won the first game 5-2. The Comets won the second game 3-2 as Kali Pugh, the returning state Player of the Year, smashed two home runs, her ninth and 10th of the season.
After the split, Palomar is 27-3-1 on the season. Cypress is 28-8. The Comets and Chargers trail only College of San Mateo from the San Francisco Bay Area, which is unbeaten at 33-0, in the California Community College Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association poll.
The Comets scored a run in the fourth inning of the second game on Pugh's ninth home run, a shot over the leftfield fence, but trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the sixth.
Summer Evans, who earlier had made a spectacular defensive play in leftfield to prevent Cypress from scoring a run, doubled into rightfield. One out later, Pugh slugged her second HR of the afternoon, a two-run shot over the left-centerfield fence which scored what turned out to be the tying and winning runs.
On hand to witness Pugh's two homers was Phil McSpadden, the coach of NAIA nationally No. 1-ranked Oklahoma City University who on Friday became the winningest four-year college coach of all-time when his Chieftains swept a doubleheader to give him his 1,457th and 1,458th victories. Pugh can't go to an NCAA school and is McSpadden's No. 1 recruit.
The home runs gave Kristina Carbajal the pitching win as Carbajal threw a complete game to advance to 6-0 on the season.
Brooke Huddleson a joined Evans by doubling, while Iesha Hill and Sara Rodriguez singled, rounding out Palomar's hitting in the second game.
In the first game, the Comets went in front in the bottom of the first inning by scoring two runs on four hits.
K.K. Fronda singled and advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Pugh singled, moving Fronda to third, then stole second. Fronda scored on Huddleson's squeeze bunt, and Stephanie Koisher singled to drive in Pugh.
But Palomar managed only one hit the rest of the game off winning pitcher Taylor Pierce, who struck out 10. Evans went the route for Palomar and took the loss and fell to 18-3.
ABOVE: From left to right, Palomar second baseman Brooke Huddleson, who took a throw from shortstop Kali Pugh, turns a double play to retire the side in the bottom of the fourth as she relays the ball to first; Huddleson makes a leaping catch for out No. 3 in the fifth inning; Huddleson sets to throw to first after fielding a grounder for the final out of the game in the seventh. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Pugh, who went 3-for-4. BELOW RIGHT: Summer Evans, who pitched a two-hitter
Pugh's bat, Evans' arm propel PC past G-House
EL CAJON (4-08-2015) -- Palomar's 22nd win in a row on Wednesday was accomplished with a familiar script that the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference champions have used all year long as they've gone 26-1-1 overall, 14-0 in conference.
The state No. 2-ranked Comets combined 2014 State Player of the Year Kali Pugh's hitting and flawless defensive play at shortstop with the dominant pitching of freshman right-hander Summer Evans in delivering yet another beatdown, this one 5-0 over rival Grossmont.
With a lot of help from their friends, Pugh (3-for-4, double, 2 singles, 2 RBIs) and Evans (2-hit complete game to go 18-1 on the year) had their way with the G-House as the Comets completed a three-game sweep of the Griffins in the teams' season series.
With a lot of help from their friends, Pugh (3-for-4, double, 2 singles, 2 RBIs) and Evans (2-hit complete game to go 18-1 on the year) had their way with the G-House as the Comets completed a three-game sweep of the Griffins in the teams' season series.
K.K. Fronda doubled and Pugh drove her in with a double as Palomar went in front 1-0 in the top of the first inning, and the Comets never let up, tacking on two runs in the fourth inning and two more in the top of the seventh.
Iesha Hill doubled to get things rolling in the fourth inning, Kristina Carbajal doubled to drive her in and Stephanie Koisher singled to score Carbajal.
In the seventh inning, Sarah Rodriguez walked, Evans moved her up with a single and Pugh drove her in with a single. Evans came around to score on an error on an overthrow.
Palomar also got some big defensive plays from second baseman Brooke Huddleson
TOP PHOTO: Palomar catcher Leah Gordon tags out Mt. SAC's Sabrina Canales in Saturday's second game. Center fielder K.K. Fronda threw the ball to shortstop Kali Pugh on the cutoff and Pugh relayed it to Gordon. The state No 2-ranked Comets beat the No. 4 Mounties 4-1. DIRECTLY ABOVE -- K.K. Fronda hits a sacrifice fly to score Kristina Carbajal in the first game, a 5-2 win over Santiago Canyon. Photos by Hugh Cox.
PC tops 2 '14 state Final 4 teams; streak at 21
SAN MARCOS (4-04-2015) -- Host Palomar ran its softball win streak to 21 games on Saturday, defeating 2014 state Final Four teams Santiago Canyon 5-2 and Mt. SAC 4-1 in a pair of non-conference games.
In game 1, winning pitcher Kristina Carbejal ran her win-loss record to 5-0 against the Hawks and Summer Evans threw the last 2 2/3 innings, recording her second save of the season.
Evans (left) pitched a complete-game win against the 2014 state runner-up Mounties in game 2, extending her win-loss record to 17-1.
The state No. 2-ranked Comets got multiple-hit performances from Brooke Huddleson (right, 4 hits), Kali Pugh (4 hits), K.K. Fronda (3 hits), Iesha Hill (3 hits) and Evans (3 hits) during the course of the afternoon.
Palomar, which clinched the undisputed PCAC championship by beating Mt. San Jacinto on Friday, jumped out in front of Santiago Canyon 1-0 in the first inning of Saturday's first game. Kali Pugh walked, advanced to third on Huddleson's single and scored on a passed ball.
The Comets added two runs in the second inning on Pugh's two-run single that drove in Evans and Fronda, who were aboard on back-to-back hits. They tacked on solo runs in the third and sixth innings, the first on a three-base throwing error and the second one on an error, a sacrifice bunt by Stephanie Koshier, Evans' single and K.K. Fronda's sacrifice fly to leftfield.
Against state No. 4-ranked Mt. SAC, Palomar broke a scoreless tie by scoring three runs in the bottom of the third on Evans' single, Fronda's fielder's choice, a single by Pugh, a passed ball and Huddleson's home run to left.
Fronda singled to right center to drive in Koisher, aboard on a bunt single, in the fourth inning.
21st win in row equals inevitable outright title
SAN MARCOS (4-03-2015) --Palomar's softball team, which clinched at least a title tie two days earlier, put a wrap on the inevitable on Friday.
The Comets, who have won 32 conference titles, made the latest championship undisputed as they defeated visiting Mt. San Jacinto 7-1.
They started the game off with a solo home run by K.K. Fronda (left) over the rightfield fence in the bottom of the first inning and continued on their 21st straight win.
The state No. 2-ranked Comets are 23-1-1 on the regular season with 12 games remaining, beginning Saturday with home non-conference games vs. Santiago Canyon at 11 a.m. and Mt. SAC at 3 p.m., sandwiched around a Santiago Canyon-Mt. SAC matchup at 1 o'clock.
In the PCAC, Palomar moved to 14-0 to lead the pack by five games in the loss column with only four games remaining.
Kali Pugh (3-for-4 with an RBI) and Summer Evans (3-for-3, RBI) paced a 13-hit attack against the Eagles. Fronda went 1-for-2 with the home run, a sacrifice fly, a walk and two RBIs, and Iesha Hill (right) doubled off the top of the fence in dead centerfield in the fourth inning.
Winning pitcher Kristina Carbajal contributed a single and an RBI. Sara Rodriguez, Leah Gordon and, Brooke Huddleson added on single each.
Carbajal went the distance to run her pitching record to 4-0, scattering eight hits.
The Comets pulled off a bizarre triple play in the top of the fourth inning on a play in which they allowed a run to score but got three outs as they took advantage of some bad baserunning by the Eagles.
PC clinches at least tie for 32nd conference title
SAN MARCOS (4-01-2015) --Wednesday was just another day at the office for the Palomar softball team.
The Comets, ranked first in Southern California and second in the state, defeated second-place San Diego Mesa -- again -- by a 5-0 score in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game. They swept their season series from the Olympians 3 games to 0 by a combined 19-2 score.
Coach Lacey Craft's club clinched no worse than a tie for its 32nd conference championship in the program's 38-year history.
Along the way, the Comets ran their season's record to 22-1-1 with their 19th straight victory. They're 13-0 in conference play with five PCAC games remaining.
Shortstop Kalie Pugh, last week's Southern California Player of the Week, and second baseman Brooke Huddleson put on a defensive clinic behind Summer Evens, the winning pitcher.
Evans threw a three-hitter and ran her win-loss record to 16-1.
At the plate, Palomar jumped out to a 2-0 lead, made it 5-0 after two innings and cruised the rest of the way.
K.K. Fronda doubled to lead off the game, and Pugh tripled to drive her in. Huddleson followed with an RBI single.
The Comets added their three second-inning runs when Sara Rodriguez doubled, Kristina Carbajal moved her up with a sacrifice bunt, Maci Lerno doubled to drive in a run and Stephanie Koishor followed with a two-run home run.
Fronda and Rodriguez each went 2-for-3 with a double and a single.
2015 Softball Schedule, Results
Head Coach: Lacey Craft (5th year as head coach)
Assistant Coach: Mark Eldridge
Assistant Coach: Marissa Valdez
Assistant Coach: Cortney Allen
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