2014 Season ...
Pugh gets 6 hits, 9 RBIs as Comets sweep
MOORPARK (4-19-2014) -- Kali Pugh, the leading community college hitter in California, went 6-for-7 and drove in nine runs on Saturday as state No. 1-ranked Palomar routed College of the Canyons and Moorpark College in a pair of non-conference games at Moorpark's Raider Softball Field.
In the first game, Pugh went 3-for-3, doubled twice, scored two runs and drove in three runs as the Comets defeated Canyons 12-4.
In the nightcap, Pugh led Palomar to an 18-2 victory over Moorpark as she went 3-for-4 with two home runs, also scored four runs and drove in six runs. The two games pushed Pugh's batting average over .600 on the season.
With two more victories, both of which were ended by run rule, coach Lacey Craft's club goes to 30-4 for the season.
Kristina Carbajal (11-1) pitched a complete-game vs. Canyons. Carlie Daniel threw a five-inning complete gameto beat Moorpark.
Stephanie Koishor had five hits for the Comets in the two games. Daniel, who drove in six runs on the day, and Carbajal each contributed four hits.
Daniel went 2-for-4 vs. Canyons with a home run and four RBIs. Lizzy Hutzler was 2-for-4 with a double and Maci Lerno also went 2-for 4. Carnajal, Koishor and Kaylee Hughen singled.
In the Moorpark game, Koishor was 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs scored and three RBIs. Carbajal was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Daniel went 3-for-4, slugged her second home run of the afternoon to match Pugh's total, scored three runs and drove in two.
Paige Falcondieri was 2-for-2 against the Raiders with a double and an RBI, while K.K. Fronda, Lerno and Kellie Johnston also hit safely.
PICTURED ABOVE:Kali Pugh (left), Stephanie Koishor (right)
Carbajal shuts out Mesa as No. 1 PC wins big
SAN DIEGO (4-18-2014) -- Kristina Carbajal pitched a seven-hit shutout to advance to 10-0 and champion Palomar continued to dominate the other Pacific Coast Athletic Conference softball teams on Friday, winning an 11-0 rain make-up on the road over San Diego Mesa.
The victory lifted Palomar to within one game of an unbeaten conference season. The defending state champion and state No. 1-ranked Comets are 17-0 in the PCAC. They're 28-4 on the year.
Paige Falconieri and Kali Pugh had big days at the plateas they combined for six of Palomar's 14 hits off three Mesa pitchers and drove in seven runs between them. Falconieri homered and doubled. she finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Pugh went 3-for-4 with four RBIs.
K.K.Fronda also doubled and went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Maci Lerno was 2-for-3 and drove in a run. Carlie Daniel singled and also drove in a run. Lizzy Hutzler, Stephanie Koisher and Kaylee Hughen each contributed a single. Carbajal also had an RBI.
Palomar will be back in action on Saturday when the Comets play a pair of non-conference games at Moorpark College's Raider Softball Field. They'll face College of the Canyons at 1 p.m. and will play Moorpark at 3 p.m.
PICTURED ABOVE: Pitcher Kritina Carbajal (left), Paige Falconieri (right)
Softball Comets retain their state No. 1 ranking
GLENDORA (4-17-2014) --Palomar's victory over Riverside City College this week in a rematch of the 2013 state championship game helped the Comets' softball team retain the No. 1 ranking in the California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association state rankings.
Trailing Palomar (27-4) are No. 2 Solano (32-2), No. 3 College of San Mateo (35-2), No. 4 Santiago Canyon (30-5), No. 6 Cypress (26-11), No. 7 Santa Ana (28-8), No.l 8 San Joaquin Delta (26-10), No. 9 College of the Desert (33-6) and No. 11 Riverside ( (26-10).
ABOVE: K.K. Fronda slugs her second home run of the game in Palomar's 11-3 victory over Southwestern on Wednesday. BELOW:Kali Pugh doubles to drive in a run in the three-run fifth inning that ended the game. -- Photos by Scott Colson (The Telescope)
Fronda is 4-for-4, homers twice in run-rule win
SAN MARCOS (4-16-2014) -- K.K. Fronda went 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double, four runs scored and five RBIs Wednesday as Palomar rolled to a five-inning, 11-3 run-rule Pacific Coast Athletic Conference softball victory over visiting Southwestern.
Kali Pugh went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Kristina Carbajal was 2-for-3 with a home run and an RBI for the PCAC champions, who are now 27-4 on the season,16-0 in conference.
Lizzy Hutzler tripled and drove in two runs for the Comets. Carlie Daniel, Paige Falconieri and Stephanie Koishor each had a single to round out a 13-hit attack.
Carbajal pitched the first 4 1/3 innings to record the pitching win and advance to 9-0 on the year. Daniel came in to get the final two outs in the top of the fifth.
Palomar won it in the bottom of the fifth on a dropped pop-up. The Comets led 8-3 through 4 1/2 and scored three times in the fifth.
The Jaguars fall to 22-16, 10-7.
The Comets will be back in action on Saturday when they play non-conference games against College of the Canyons (at 1 p.m.) and Moorpark (at 3 p.m.), both at Moorpark.
ABOVE: Palomar coach Lacey Craft high fives Kali Pugh (left) and K.K. Fronda (right) after they scored on Carli Daniel's two-run double in the fifth inning to put Palomar up 7-2. -- Photo by Scott Colson (The Telescope). BELOW: Carlie Daniel, whose two-run double in the fifth inning put Palomar on top 7-2 and broke the game wide open
Palomar wins rematch of 2013 state title game
SAN MARCOS (4-15-2014) -- Defending state champion and state No.1-ranked Palomar rebounded back into the softball victory column on Tuesday, defeating Riverside City College 9-4 in a rematch of last season's state championship game.
The Comets (26-4) supported Dani Cowan, who pitched a complete game, with 11 hits, ledby multiple-hit performances by K.K. Fronda (3-for-4), Kali Pugh (3-for-4) and Carlie Daniel (2-for-3).
Fronda doubled twice, drove in two runs and scored four runs. Pugh tripled, stole a base, drove in a run and scored two runs. And Daniel had a double, a sacrifice fly and three RBIs.
Daniel broke the game wide open in the seventh inning when she doubled to drive in Pugh and Fronda, putting Palomar up by five runs 7-2.
Kristina Carbejal also had a double. Stephabnie Koisher and Kaylee Hughen singled as the Comets dominated the state No. 6-ranked Tigers (25-10) in rebounding from a pair of upset losses to state No. 7 Cypress on Saturday.
Cowan allowed two earned runs in pitching the full seven innings.
Palomar will be right back in action on Wednesday when the Comets, who clinched their 31st conference championship last week, host Southwestern in a 3 p.m. Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game.
No. 7 Cypress stuns state No. 1 Comets twice
SAN MARCOS (4-12-2014) --State seventh-ranked Cypress College stunned No. 1-ranked Palomar twice in a non-conference softball doubleheader on Saturday, sweeping the visiting Comets 10-4 and 7-3.
It's the first time Palomar has lost two straight games since March 23, 2013 when the Comets were swept by Mt. SAC. Palomar fell to 25-4 on the season, while Cypress is 26-10.
The Comets clinched their 31st conference championship on Friday when they defeated Grossmont 6-0 at home (see right-hand column), and focus on Saturday appeared to be a possible issue.
Maci Lerno (3-for-4, RBI), Carlie Daniel (2-for-4, 3 RBIs) and Kali Pugh (2-for-4, triple) had multiple hits for the Comets in game 1. Paige Falconieri, Lizzy Hutller and Kaylee Hughen each added a double.
Pugh went 2-for-3 in the second game with a home run and an RBI. Carlie Daniel also homered.
PICTURED ABOVE: Kali Pugh (left), Maci Lerno (right), who each had four hits in the doubleheader.
TOP PHOTO: Palomar's K.K. Fronda is all smiles as she rounds the bases on her first-inning home run. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Dani Cowan delivers the final pitch of her one-hitter. BELOW LEFT: Fronda comes in from center field to make a catch for the final out in the fourth inning. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW RIGHT:Kristina Carbajal, whose two-run homer broke open a one-run game ijn the third inning
Cowan throws a one-hitter; PC wins 31st title
SAN MARCOS (4-11-2014) -- Dani Cowan pitched a one-hitter on Friday, striking out eight, and state No. 1-ranked Palomar wrapped up its 31st conference softball championship with a 6-0 shutout over second-place Grossmont at home on Alumni Day.
The defending state champion Comets banged out 10 hits, including home runs by K.K. Fronda and Kristina Carbajal, as they advanced to 25-2 on the season (15-0 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference).
With the win, Palomar opened an insurmountable 5 1/2-game lead over the Griffins and Southwestern, who are tied for second place at 9-5.
Cowan (13-1) took a no-hitter into the fourth inning, when Grossmont's Nicole Obney singled with one out.
The Comets took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Fronda, the leadoff batter, homered over the left-centerfield fence. Kali Pugh reached base on an error in the third inning and Carbejal slugged a two-run homer over the left-centerfield fence to make it 3-0.
Palomar never looked back, adding three more runs in the fourth inning.
For the game, Keilani went 2-for-3 with the homer, a double and an RBI. Paige Falconieri went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Kali Pugh also was 2-for-4 and drove in a run. Carbajal was 1-for-3 with her HR and two RBIs.
Carlie Daniel had a double, and Lizzy Hdutzler also hit safely.
Palomar has three conference games remaining while Grossmont and Southwestern each have four remaining. The Comets also have five non-conference games left, beginning with a double-header at No. 7-ranked Cypress at noon Saturday.No-hitter for Lerno, Daniel; PC clinches title tie MENIFEE (4-09-2014) -- Maci Lerno and Carlie Daniel pitched a five-inning no-hitter and Kristin George went 3-for-3 on Wednesday as visiting Palomar clinched at least a tie for its 31st conference softball championship by run-ruling Mt. San Jacinto 11-0.
Coach Lacy Craft's Comets, who took over the No. 1-ranking in the state on Tuesday (see below), are 24-2 overall, 14-0 in conference and lead second-place Grossmont (9-4 in conference) by 4 1/2 games. Palomar, the defending state champion, has four Pacific Coast Athletic Conference games left. Grossmont has five remaining.
The Griffins could tie for the championship if they won their last five conference games and the Comets dropped their last four, an extremely unlikely scenario. Palomar can put an end to the drama by beating Grossmont on Friday at home at 3 p.m., which would clinch the title outright.
Lerno pitched the first four innings of the no-hitter. Daniel finished the game with a 1-2-3 fifth inning. Only a third-inning error prevented them from throwing a perfect game.
Meanwhile, Palomar's batters banged out 15 hits off two Mt. San Jacinto pitchers, led by George's 3-for-3 performance with a double and two RBIs. Four other Comets also had multiple hits -- Paige Falconieri (2-for-4, home run, 3 RBIs), Daniel (2-for-3, double, 3 RBIs), Kali Pugh (2-for-3, 2 RBIs) and Lizzy Hutzler (2-for-2).
Lerno, Courtnie Brooks, Amy Rust and Kaylee Hughen had one hit each.
PICTURED ABOVE: Maci Lerno, who threw the first four innings of the no-hitter (left), Kristin George, who went 3-for-3 at the plate (right)
Palomar moves to No. 1 in state softball poll
SACRAMENTO (4-08-2014) -- Palomar, which is riding an 11-game win streak going into a game at Mt. San Jacinto on Wednesday, has moved up to No. 1 in the California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association state poll.
The defending state champion Comets (23-2) were previously ranked No. 2 but jumped over previous No. 1 College of San Mateo, which saw its 26-game win streak broken by San Jose City College 15-9 last week. San Mateo, which is now ranked second, is 33-2.
Solano and Santiago Canyon are tied at No. 3 in the state poll. No. 5 Sierra, No. 6 RiversideCity College, No. 7 Cypress, No. 8 Santa Ana, No. 9 San Joaquin Delta and No. 10 Sacramento City College round out the first 10 teams. Palomar and Santiago Canyon are ranked 1-2 in Southern California.
Comets sweep Mt. SAC, go to 23-2 for 2014
WALNUT (4-04-2014) -- K.K. Fronda went 6-for-8 and state hitting leader Kali Pugh went 5-for-8 with a home run and six RBIs on Friday as visiting Palomar swept Mt. SAC 9-7 and 12-4 in a non-conference softball doubleheader.
The defending state champion and No. 2-ranked Comets won their 10th and 11th straight games, upping their record on the season to 23-2. The Mounties fell to 26-6.
Debi Cowan was the winning pitcher in both games, throwing a complete game in game 1 and pitching the last three innings in the run-rule second game in relief of Kristina Carbejal.
the first game, Fronda went 3-for-4 and doubled while Pugh was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs in game. Paige Falconieri went 2-for-4 with a double. Carbejal also was 2-for-4.
In game 2, Pugh (3-for-4, 3 RBIs), Fronda (3-for-4), Kristin George (3-for-4), Carlie Daniel (2-for-4, double) and Maci Lerno (2-for-4) all had multiple hits.
Coach Lacey Craft's Comets pounded out 28 hits in the doubleheader, 17 in the first game and 11 in the second game.
Palomar, which has won 22 of its last 23 games, will be off until Friday, when the Comets host Grossmont in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game at 3 p.m.
PICTURED ABOVE:K.K. Fronda (left), Kali Pugh (right)
TOP PHOTO: Palomar third baseman Maci Lerno takes a throw from winning pitcher Dani Cowan and tags out San Diego City College's Meagan Shaw in the fifth inning for the next-to-last out of Wednesday's run-rule game in San Diego. Shaw had doubled and, with one out, tried to go to third on a fielder's choice when Brianna Leigh-Pink hit the ball back to Cowan. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Kali Pugh knocks out a double. BELOW:Cowan delivers a fifth-inning pitch. She came on in relief to run her win-loss record to 11-1. -- Photos by Hugh Cox
PC rolls to 9th straight win, closes in on title
SAN DIEGO (4-02-2014) -- Visiting Palomar inched that much closer to its 31st conference championship on Thursday at Betty Hook Field with an 11-2 run-rule victory over San Diego City College.
Paige Falconieri and Carlie Daniel each knocked out three hits to place a 15-hit attack off two City College pitchers as the state No. 2-ranked Comets advanced to 21-2 on the season and 13-0 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference. Palomar has a nine-game winning streak and has won 20 of its last 21 games.
Coach Lacey Craft's defending state champions lead second-lace Grossmont by 4 1/2 games, with the Comets haviing five games to play and the Griffins have six to play. Grossmont defeated Southwestern on Wednesday 6-3.
San Diego Mesa (8-5) and Southwestern (7-5) are also mathematically still in the race.
Faloncieri went 3-for-4 for the Comets with two doubles and three RBIs. Daniel went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
K.K. Fronda (2-for-4, triple, double, 2 RBIs), state batting leader Kali Pugh (2-for-4, double), Kaylee Hughen (2-for-3, two RBIs) and Lizzy Hutzler (2-for-2) also had multiple hits for Palomar. Kristen George also hit safely.
Kristina Carbajal, who pitched the first two innings, and Cowan, who worked the last three innings, combined to throw a four-hitter.
The Knights fell to 6-21, 3-10.
Palomar solidified its argument for a No. 1 state ranking when top-ranked College of San Mateo was upset by San Jose City College 15-9 on Wednesday for its second loss of the season. The Bulldogs, who are now 30-2, saw their 26-game win streak snapped.
Palomar pounds Long Beach for 20th victory
LONG BEACH (3-28-2014) -- Palomar's state No. 2-ranked softball team went on the road and clobbered Long Beach City College 11-1 in a non-conference game on Friday.
With the win, the Comets advanced to 20-2 on the season. Palomar has won eight straight games and 20 of its last 21.
Shortstop Kali Pugh, the state's leading community college hitter with a .583 average, paced a 13-hit attack for the Comets in the six-inning, run-rule match-up. The freshman shortstop from Rancho Buena Vista High School went 3-for-4, doubling and scoring three runs.
Kristina Carbajal, Carlie Daniel, Maci Lerno and Kristin George joined Pugh with multiple-hit performances against the Vikings.
Carbajal went 2-for-4 with a home run, double and three RBIs. Daniel went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, three runs scored and two RBIs. Lerno went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. And George was 2-for-3 with a walk.
Paige Falconieri doubled to drive in two runs and K.K. Fronda singled, rounding out Palomar's hit production for the day.
Carbajal (7-0) threw the first four innings, allowing two hits, to record the pitching win. Dani Cowan came in to throw perfect relief ball over the final two innings.
PICTURED ABOVE:Kali Pugh (left), Kristina Carbajal (right)
ABOVE: Palomar's Paige Falconieri drives a single off Imperial Valley pitcher Desiree Estrada (No. 5) during Comets' 10-0 run-rule victory over the visiting Arabs on Thursday. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW:Dani Cowan, who pitched a two-hit shutout
Palomar run-rules IVC, goes to 12-0 in PCAC
SAN MARCOS (3-17-2014) -- State No. 2-ranked Palomar continued to dominate the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference as the Comets run-ruled visiting Imperial Valley 10-0 in a 4 1/2-inning game on Thursday afternoon.
Dani Cowan pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out six batters and walking none over five innings, as she ran her win-loss record on the season to 10-1.
The Comets supported her with a 10-hit attack, led by K.K. Fronda who went 2-for-2 with two doubles, three runs scored and a walk.
Kali Pugh, the reigning PCAC Women's Athlete of the Week for all sports, went 2-for-3, doubled and drove in two runs. Carlie Daniel also was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Maci Lerno, whose mom Jill Lerno is IVC's head coach, doubled and drove in two runs. Paige Falconieri and Kristina Carbajal each contributed a single and an RBI, and Kristin George also siongled.
Palomar (19-2 on the sesason, 12-0 in conference) broke open a 1-0 game with five runs in the third inning, then tacked on two more runs in the fourth.
The Comets will play a non-conference game at Long Beach City College on Friday.
Pugh is honored as PCAC Athlete of the Week
SAN DIEGO (3-25-2014) --Palomar's Kali Pugh has been selected as Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Women's Athlete of the Week for all sports for the week of March 17-23.
Pugh, coach Lacey Craft's freshman shortstop from Rancho Buena Vista High School, went 9-for-11 with seven RBIs as Palomar, ranked No. 1 in Southern California and second in the state, defeated Imperial Valley 9-0, Grossmont 1-0 and Southwestern 10-2.
Pugh went 3-for-3 with a double, triple, sacrifice fly and four RBIs vs. IVC. She was w2-fvor-4 and drove in the only run of the game in a 1-0 victory over Grossmont. And she was 4-for-4 with a sacrifice fly and two RBIs in the defending state champions' in over Southwestern.
ABOVE: Palomar's Kristina Carbajal appears beat a throw to first base in the Comets' 10-2 win on the road over Southwestern. She was called out on the play. BELOW: Kali Pugh upends Southwestern catcher Jessica Thompson as she scores one of the Comets' 10 runs. -- Photos by Russ Scoffin, Southwestern College
PC goes to 1st in SoCal, 2nd in state, wins big
CHULA VISTA (3-21-2014) -- Palomar took a jump in the Southern California and state community college softball rankings on Friday morning, then celebrated by clobbering its closest competition in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference in the afternoon.
Coach Lacey Craft's defending state champions, now ranked No. 2 in California and No. 1 in SoCal, disposed of Southwestern 10-2 on the Jaguars' field as Kali Pugh, K.K. Fronda and Paige Falconieri combined to pound out 10 of the Comets' 17 hits.
Fronda went 3-for-4 with a triple, a double, a walk, three runs scored and two RBIs. Pugh was 4-for-4 with a sacrifice fly. Falconieri was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.
Carbajal, who pitched three shutout innings to begin the game and left the pitchers' circle with an 8-0 lead, also had a big day at the plate as she went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. Carlie Daniel went 2-for-4 and drove in a run. Kristin George added two hits and Lizzy Hutzler had the other hit.
Maci Lerno and Dani Cowan combined to pitch the final four innings.
Palomar (18-2, 11-0 in conference) trails only top-ranked College of San Mateo (28-1) in the California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association state poll. In the PCAC, the Comets now lead second-place Southwestern (17-9, 6-3) by four games -- by three games in the loss column.
In the state poll, No. 3 Solano, No. 4 Santiago Canyon and No. 5 Sierra trail San Mateo and Palomar.The Comets are followed in the top five in the Southern California rankings by No. 2 Santiago Canyon, No. 3 Riverside City College and two teams tied at No. 5, Santa Ana and Cypress.
The Comets, who have won six games in a row and 18 of their last 19, will be off until next Thursday when they host Imperial Valley in a PCAC game at 2 p.m..
ABOVE:Kristina Carbajal pitches against Grossmont on Wednesday in El Cajon. Carbajal threw a four-hit, complete-game shutout as Palomar won 1-0. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Kali Pugh, who drove in the only run of the game with a single in the fifth inning
Carbajal shuts out Griffs; PC is 2 up in PCAC
EL CAJON (3-19-2014) -- Palomar's defending state softball champions opened up a two-game lead in the loss column on second-place Southwestern in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference race on Wednesday as Kristina Carbajal shut out Grossmont 1-0 on a four-hitter.
Coach Lacey Craft's Comets (17-2, 10-0 in conference) will try to stretch that lead when they play the Jaguars (17-8, 6-2) on Friday at 3 p.m. in Chula Vista. Southwestern trailed Palomar by only one game when San Diego Mesa upset the Jaguars 6-4 on Tuesday.
Carbajal (5-0) struck out five and walked two in pitching her seven-inning complete game.
Grossmont threatened once, loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the second. But Carbajal got Mary Lieberknecht to ground out to shortstop Kali Pugh for the third out.
Pugh, meanwhile, drove in the only run of the game, in the top of the fifth. With one out, Joanna Royden singled back to Grossmont pitcher Nicole Balinger. K.K. Fronda reached base on a fielder's choice as second baseman Tori Roel fielded her ground ball and stepped on second to force Royden. Kristen George followed with a single up the middle, advancing Fronda to second and bringing Pugh to the plate.
Pugh followed with a single up the middle, scoring Fronda.
Fronda (2-for-3 with a double), Pugh (2-for-4 with the RBI) and Royden (2-for-3) all had multiple hits as Palomar poundedout nine hits off Balinger. George went 2-for-2 with a pair of sacrificebunts. Carlie Daniel and Paige Falconieri each added a single.
Pugh goes 3-for-3 with triple, 4 RBIs in win
IMPERIAL (3-18-2014) -- Palomar traveled to the desert on Tuesday and defeated Imperial Valley 10-0 as the Comets warmed up for big Pacific Coast Athletic road match-ups on Wednesday at Grossmont and on Friday at Southwestern.
Dani Cowan, Carly Daniel and Maci Lerno, daughter of IVC coach Jill Lerno, combined to throw a two-hitter at the Arabs. But the big story was the Comets' hitting as the defending state champions upped their record to 16-2 on the season, 9-0 in the PCAC.
Kali Pugh went 3-for-3 tripled, contributed a sacrifice fly and drove in four runs as four Comets had multiple-hit performances -- and both Paige Falconieri and Lerno slammed home runs. Falconcieri's blast was a solo shot in the fourth inning. Lerno's came with a runner on base in the sixth.
Leadoff hitter K.K. Fronda, the PCAC Women's Athlete of the Week for all sports, went 3-for-4 with two doubles. Kristina Carbajal was 2-for-3 with two doubles. Kristin George went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs.
The Arabs stuck around for three innings, trailing only 1-0 entering the fourth inning. Then Palomar's offense got untracked as the Comets scored three runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and five more in the sixth.
PICTURED ABOVE: Kali Pugh (left), Maci Lerno (right)
Comets' Fronda honored after 3-homer week
SAN DIEGO (3-17-2014) -- Palomar freshman softball centerfielder K.K. Fronda has been selected as Women's Athlete of the Week for all sports by the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.
Fronda slugged three monster home runs during the week as she ignited the Comets to three victories that ran the defending state chamions' record to 15-2 on the season and 8-0 in conference play.
The Rancho Cotate High School (Rhonert Park) product began the week by leading the state No. 6-ranked Comets to a 5-4 victory over state No.2-ranked Santa Ana. Fronda led off the bottom of the first inning with a homer, contributed a sacrifrice fly, then hit a walk-off homer in the seventh as she finished the game by going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBIs.
Later in the week, her lead-off homer in the first inning ignited a 9-0 run-rule conference victory over San Diego Mesa. She also singled and stole two bases in an 11-3 run-rule win over Mt. San Jacinto.
PC run-rules Mt. San Jac to go 8-0 in PCAC
SAN MARCOS (3-14-2014) -- Paige Falconieri went 3-for-3, slugged her second home run of the season, scored three runs and drove in four on Friday as Palomar rolled to a run-rule 11-3 victory over visiting Mt. San Jacinto in a game that was halted after 4 1/2 innings.
Carlie Daniel (2-for-3, three runs scored, RBI) and Kali Pugh (2-for-3, two runs scored, RBI) also had multiple hits as coach Lacey Craft's Comets won for the 14th time in their last 15 games.
Palomar, which is ranked sixth in the state, is 15-2 on the season, 8-0 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.
The Comets were never in trouble, scoring four runs in the first inning and tacking on four more runs in the second to lead early 8-0. Falconieri's HR came in the second inning.
K.K. Fronda, Maci Lerno and Lizzy Hutzler also hit safely for Palomar.
Kristina Carbaja pitched the first four innings to run her win-loss record to 4-0. Lerno, making her first appearance of the3 season, came on to retire the Eagles 1-2-3 in the seventh inning.
Rayna Winters tripled and Tiffany Lee doubled for Mt. San Jacinto, which fell to 11-12 overall, 2-5 in conference.
PICTURED ABOVE:Paige Falconieri (left), Carlie Daniel (right)
Another Fronda lead-off homer lifts Comets
SAN MARCOS (3-12-2014) -- For the second straight afternoon on Wednesday, K.K. Fronda led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run.
This time her lead-off homer opened the floodgates as first-place and defending state champion Palomar disposed of visiting San Diego Mesa 9-0 in a run-rule Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game that lasted 4 1/2 innings.
On Tuesday, Fronda followed her lead-off homer with a walk-off HR in the bottom of the seventh inning which gave the Comets a 5-4 non-conference victory over state No. 2-ranked Santa Ana (see below).
Back on Wednesday, Carlie Daniel and Kristina Carbajal combined on a five-inning four-hitter to shut down Mesa as the Comets, currently ranked sixth in the state, advanced to 14-2 and 7-0 in conference play. The Olympians slipped to 9-12-1, 4-3 in the PCAC.
Daniel pitched the first four innings and Carbajal came in to retire all three Mesa batters in the top of the fifth
Karli Pugh, Paige Falconieri and Kristin George each added a pair of hits against two Mesa pitchers. Pugh went 2-for-2 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBIs. She also reached base as a hit batter. Falconieri was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. George was 2-for-3 and also scored twice.
Daniel had a two-run double. Stephanie Koishor also doubled. Carbajal was 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI. Lizzy Hutzler also hit safely.
Palomar has won 13 of its last 14 games.
PICTURED ABOVE: K.K. Fronda (left), Kali Pugh (right)
ABOVE: K.K. Fronda's walk-off home run in the seventh inning gives the Comets a 5-4 win vs. state No. 2-ranked Santa Ana. BELOW:Winning pitcher Carlie Daniel, who came on in relief, delivers a pitch. -- Photos by Hugh Cox
Fronda's walk-off HR beats state No. 2 Dons
SAN MARCOS (3-11-2014) -- In a match-up of last season's state community college softball champion, Palomar, and this year's state No. 2-ranked team, Santa Ana, K.K. Fronda's bat was the difference on Tuesday afternoon.
Fronda's second home run of the afternoon, a walk-off solo shot over the right-centerfield fence with one out in the seventh inning, lifted the Comets to a heart-stopping 5-4 victory over the visiting Dons.
Santa Ana (15-6) jumped out to 3-0 lead in the top of the first and was on top 2-1 after Fronda hit the first of her two solo homers over the right-centerfield fence in the bottom of the inning.
Fronda (2-for-3, 2 homers, sacrifice fly, 3 RBIs) brought the Comets (13-2) to within two runs with a sacrifrice fly in the last half of the fifth inning.
Maci Lerno got the inning rolling when she lined a ball that went between the shortstop's legs for an error. Lizzly Hutzler moved Lerno to second with a bunt single. Kellie Johnston advanced her to third on a sac bunt, and Fronda drove her in when she lofted her sacrifrice fly to left field.
Kristina Carbajal tied the game 4-4 mwith a two-run homer over the centerfield fence to score Kali Pugh ahead of her in the sixth inning. Pugh had reached base with a linedrive single to left.
Palomar had seven hits on the afternoon. Lerno and Kristin George had the other hits, both singles.
Carlie Daniel came on in relief to notch the pitching win.
Lerno, Hutzler homer but PC's win streak ends
NORWALK (3-08-2014) -- Maci Lerno and Lizzy Hutzler hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning on Saturday, but by that time Cerritos had opened up a solid lead and the Falcons went on to snap Palomar's 11-game win streak 11-8 in a non-conference softball game.
Daniel also knocked out a two-run double in the inning as the Comets scored five runs to cut a 10-0 Cerritos lead in half.
Palomar continued to battlle back, but could only get back to within three runs.
For the game, Daniel went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs. Lerno also was 3-for-4 with the RBI on her home run. Kaylee Hughen was 2-for-2.
The Comets fell to 12-2 on the season, while Cerritos moved to 11-5.
PICTURED ABOVE:Maci Lerno (left), Lizzy Hutzler (right)
Palomar run-rules City for 11th victory in row
SAN MARCOS (3-07-2014) -- Carli Daniel pitched a four-hit shutout and slugged a home run on Friday as state third-ranked Palomar defeated visiting San Diego City College 8-0.
The Comets' 11th straight win came by run rule after Palomar scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Comets, alone atop the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, advanced to 12-1 on the season and 6-0 in the PCAC with a non-conference game at Cerritos coming up on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Carlie Daniel's solo home run led off the bottom of the second inning and gave the Comets a lead that was never threatened. Kali Pugh tacked on a two-run HR to highlight the Comets' four-run fifth which ended the game with one out in the last half of the fifth. The eighth and final run came on a bases-loaded walk to Kaylee Hughen.
Palomar banged out eight hits off two City College pitchers. Pugh went 2-for-3 with the homer, a double and three RBIs. Daniel was 2-for-3 with her homer and RBI. Kristin George also was 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI. Hughen doubled and drove in two runs. Lizzy Hutzler singled and drove in a run, and Kristina Carbajal added a single.
PICTURED ABOVE:Carlie Daniel (left), Kali Pugh (right)
Pugh's 7th-inn. hit lifts No. 3 PC over No. 4 foe
ORANGE (3-04-2014) -- Kali Pugh's seventh inning single drove in Kristin George from second with the winning run on Tuesday as state No. 3-ranked Palomar beat No. 4 Santiago Canyon 5-4 in a non-conference softball game.
George had walked and advanced a base on a wild pitch.
Pugh and Carlie Daniel each went 2-for-4 and Lizzy Hutzler was 2-for-3 for coach Lacey Craft's Comets, who moved to 11-1 on the season. Santiago Canyon fell to 14-2.
The Comets, who ran their winning streak to 10 games, will return to PCAC action on Friday when they host San Diego City at 3 p.m.
Comets' Lerno named women's Athlete of Week
SAN DIEGO (3-04-2014) --Palomar softball player Maci Lerno has been named Women's Athlete of the Week in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.
Lerno's home run and double lifted the defending state champions and PCAC leaders to a 6-2 victory over visiting Southwestern last week.
The freshman third baseman from El Centro Southwest High School homered over the centerfield fence to break open a 2-1 game in the fourth inning, then led off with a double to spark a two-run sixth inning as the state No. 3-ranked Comets won their ninth straight game.
Palomar's ninth straight victory is a big one
SAN MARCOS (2-26-2014) --Palomar, the No. 4-ranked community college softball team in the state, sits alone atop the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference with one game remaining in the first round after a 6-2 victory over visiting Southwestern on Thursday.
Maci Lerno broke open a 2-1 game with a solo home run over the centerfield fence in the fourth inning, then added a lead-off double to center as the Comets scored two more runs in the sixth. Palomar, the defending state champion, went on to run its winning streak to nine games and advance to 10-1 on the season, 5-0 in conference.
The Comets and Jaguars were the long remaining teams with unbeaten PCAC records coming into the game. Southwestern falls to 9-5 overall, 3-1 in conference and remains in second second place, trailing by 1.5 games. Palomar is slated to finish the first of three rounds in the conference on Friday at 1 p.m. at home against Imperial Valley, weather permitting.
With Palomar leading 4-2, K.K. Fronda slugged a two-run triple in the sixth inning, scoring on a throwing error by the cutoff woman on the play, which put the Comets out of reach with a four-run cushion.
Lerno went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Fronda joined Lerno with multiple hits, going 2-for-4. Kristen George, Carlie Daniel, Kali Pugh, Kristina Carbajal, Lizzy Hutzler and Kaylee Hughen added singles.
Carbajal recorded the pitching win for the Comets with late-inning relief help from Dani Cowan,who notched a save.
PICTURED ABOVE:Maci Lerno (left), who homered and doubled; K.K. Fronda (right), who tripled and singled.
Comets go to 9-1, host Jags for PCAC lead
SAN MARCOS (2-25-2014) -- Coach Lacey Craft's defending state champion Palomar softball team downed visiting Citrus 4-1 in non-conference action on Tuesday and will host Southwestern in a battle for the early Pacific Coast Athletic Conference lead on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
After Tuesday's victory, the Comets are 9-1 on the season. They're 4-0 in the PCAC. Southwestern comes in 9-4 on the year, 3-0 in conference.
Dani Cowan, who pitched the first four innings to record the win, and Kristina Carbajal combined on a four-hitter against the Owls. Carbajol threw the last three innings. Citrus' run, which gave the Owls a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, came off Cowan and was unearned.
Palomar anwered with the tying run in the bottom of the inning, then scored three times in the fourth to go in front by the final 4-1 score. K.K. Fronda contributed a two-run double in the inning. Kristin George added an RBI single.
Carlie Daniel, Kali Pugh and Kaylee Hughen also hit safely for the winners.
PICTURED ABOVE:K.K. Fronda (left), Kristin George (right)
ABOVE: Maci Lerno singles in the fifth inning to end Palomar's 11-3 win over visiting Grossmont due to the eight-run mercy rule. Lerno drove in Paige Falconieri, had singled earlier in the inning, to send the Griffins packing back to El Cajon. BELOW:Falconieri rounds the bases on her two-run home run that put the Comets up 5-2 in the fourth. -- Photos by Hugh Cox
Falconieri's bat helps lift Comets over G-House
SAN MARCOS (2-21-2014) --Paige Falconieri went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs on Friday afternoon, lifting defending state champion Palomar past visiting Grossmont 11-3 in the Comets' Pacific Coast Athletic Conference home softball opener.
Maci Lerno ended the game with two outs in the bottom of the fifth when she singled up the middle to drive in Falconieri, who was aboard on a single, with the Comets' third run of the inning and 11th run of the game. Lerno's RBI put Palomar up by eight runs, putting the mercy rule into effect.
Kali Pugh, (3-for-4, double, RBI), Lerno (2-for-4, 2 RBIs), Kristina Carbajal (2-for-4, RBI) and Kristin George (2-for-4) joined Falconieri with multiple hits for the Comets. Carlie Daniel doubled and drove in two runs. Lizzy Hutzler had a single and an RBI. Kaylee Hughen also singled, rounding out a 15-hit attack off two Grossmont pitchers.
Palomar trailed 2-0 going into the bottom half of the first, when the Comets scored five times to take a lead they never relinquished.
Dani Cown picked up a complete-game pitching win as Palomar advanced to 8-1 on the season, 4-0 in conference.
Carbajal throws 1-hit shutout in run-rule win
MENIFEE (2-19-2013) --Kristina Carbajal pitched a five-inning, one-hit shutout and helped her own cause by driving in four runs on Wednesday as Palomar run-ruled Mt. San Jacinto 9-0 in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference softball.
The Eagles' Isabel Castelanos singled for the lone hit against Carbajal, a single with one out in the bottom of the first inning. She was one of only two Mt. San Jacinto players to reach base. The Eagles put another runner on base on an error in the second.
Carbajal struck out three batters and walked none.
Palomar scored six runs in the top of the fourth inning, breaking a 0-0 tie, then added three runs in the fifth.
Maci Lerno slugged a home run for the Comets during the six-run fourth inning. Carbajal went 2-for-3 with a triple and four RBIs. K.K. Fronda and Carlie Daniel each was 2-for-3 with a double. Paige Falconieri tripled. Kristin George and Kali Pugh each contributed a single.
Palomar (7-1, 3-0) will host Grossmont in its fourth PCAC game on Friday at 3 p.m.
PHOTOS: Kristina Carbajal (left), Maci Lerno (right)
Comets down Mesa, are 2-0 in PCAC softball
SAN DIEGO (2-14-2014) -- Palomar's defending state community college softball champions made it two wins in three days in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference on Friday on the road.
Coach Lacey Craft's squad defeated San Diego Mesa 7-4. The Comets ran their record to 6-1 on the season. The Comets are 2-0 in conference.
Palomar broke open a 2-2 tie game with three runs in the top of the fifth inning and two more in the top of the sixth.
Kristina Carbajal and Kristin George each contributed three hits for the Comets. Carbajal went 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs. George was 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a sacrifice bunt.
Maci Lerno had a multiple-hit game, going 2-for-3.
K.K. Fronda also had a double. Carlie Daniel and Paige Falconieri each chipped in with a hit and an RBI. Kali Pugh and Lizzy Hutzler also hit safely.
Daniel pitched 2 2/3 scoreless relief innings to notch a save in relief of starter and winner Dani Cowan.
The Comets,who pounded out 13 hits off two Mesa pitchers, ran their record to 6-1 on the season. They're 2-0 in conference.
Palomar visits new PCAC member Mt. San Jacinto on Wednesday, then will play their home conference opener at 3 p.m. Friday against Grossmont.
PHOTOS: Kristina Carbajol (above left), Kristin George (above right)
ABOVE: Danielle Cowan delivers a pitch in Palomar's conference-opening 11-3 victory on the road over San Diego City College on Wednesday. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Lizzy Hutzler, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs
Palomar run rules SD City to open conference
SAN DIEGO (2-12-2014) -- Palomar, trailing 3-2 after three innings, scored two runs to go in front in the top of the fourth and went on to run-rule San Diego City College 11-3 in its Pacific Coast Athletic Conference opener on Wednesday afternoon at Betty Hook Softball Field.
Winning pitcher Danielle Cowan (4-0) threw a complete-game four-hitter, striking out eight in a game that ended by mercy rule after six innings.
She had plenty of support. The Comets banged out 13 hits off losing pitcher Katie Dowdy, led by Lizzy Hutzler, Kristina Carbajal, Carlie Daniel and Kristin George with two hits each.
Hutzler went 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Carbajalo went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. Daniel was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored. And George had a 2-for-3 performance, scoring one run.
Kali Pugh doubled, driving in two runs. K.K. Fronda also doubled. Paige Falconieri singled, driving in a run. Paige Falconieri, Maci Lerno and Stephanie Kotshor each contributed a single.
Coach Lacey Craft's defending state champions are 5-1 to open the season.
TOP PHOTO: Palomar second baseman Kaylee Hughen throws Fullerton batter out at first. LOWER PICTURE: Center fielder K.K. Fronda makes an over-the-shoulder catch. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Defending state champs win three more games
SAN MARCOS (2-06-2014) / (2-07-2014) -- Palomar's defending state community college softball champions warmed up for Wednesday's Pacific Coast Athletic Conference opener at San Diego City College by notching three more non-conference victories on Thursday and Friday at home.
Along the way, they pounded out 31 hits and scored 18 runs.
On Thursday, the Comets shut out Fullerton 9-0. On Friday, they swept a double-header from College of the Desert 5-2 and 4-1.
Palomar 9, Fullerton 0 -- Kali Pugh, coach Lacey Craft's freshman shortstop from Rancho Buena Vista High School, went 3-for-4 with a home run and a triple, driving in three runs, to pace a nine-hit attack off two Fullerton pitchers. That all came in support of Dani Cowen, who pitched six innings of two-hit, shutout ball, striking out four and walking none.
Carlie Daniel and Maci Lerno doubled for Palomar. Kristin George, K.K. Fronda, Carlie Daniel, Paige Falconieri, Lizzy Hutzler, Kristina Carbajal, Lerno and Kaylee Hughen all sigled. Fronda drove in two runs. Daniel, Falconieri, Hutzler and Hughen each contributed one RBI.
Palomar 5, COD 2 -- Cowen threw a three-hitter in Friday's first game. Both of the Roadrunners' runs were unearned as the Comets made three errors in back of Cowen.
Fronda led an 11-hit attack by going 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs. Carbajal (2-for-3, double, RBI) and George (2-for-3, RBI) also had multiple hits.
Palomar 4, COD 1 -- In Friday's second game, George was 3-for-4 with an RBI as Carbajal picked up the pitching win and Palomar banged out nine more hits. Pugh went 2-for-4 with a douoble and 2 RBIs. Daniel was 2-for-4 with a double and single. Falconieri was 2-for-3.
The Comets ran their season's record to 4-1.
Unearned runs and Dons do in the Comets
SANTA ANA (1-31-2014) -- Palomar's state No. 1-ranked softball squad jumped out to a 4-0 lead over host Santa Ana in a non-conference game on Friday. But the roof fell in when the Dons scored six runs in the bottom of the third inning, five of them unearned.
Santa Ana continued on to a 9-4 victory, leveling the Comets' record at 1-1 after their first two games of the season.
Kaylee Hughen gave the defending state champion Comets a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when she doubled to left field to drive in Kristina Carbajol, who was aboard on a single.
The Comets then struck for three runs in the second inning when K.K. Fronda singled down the leftfield line, Carlie Daniel singled to center and Kali Pugh followed with a three-run home run.
But that was all the runs Palomar would score, while Santa Ana took a 6-4 lead with the six-run third inning, and added three more runs in the sixth.
Pugh went 3-4 and Daniel was 2-for-4. The double by Hughen, the singles by Carbajol and Fonda and a single by Paige Falconieri rounded out Palomar's nine-hit attack off three Santa Ana pitchers.
Palomar had three errors.
ABOVE: Carli Daniel slugs a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning to give defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Palomar a 2-0 lead against Saddleback on Wednesday. BELOW: Catcher Lizzy Hutzler tags out the Gauchos' Sammee Wright at the plate on a throw from left fielder Kristin George for the third out in the sixth inning. -- Photos by Hugh Cox
Big bats save state champs in sloppy opener
SAN MARCOS (1-29-2014) -- On a day her defending champion and state No. 1-ranked Comets allowed visiting Saddleback to stick around due to a sloppy day defensively, Palomar softball coach Lacey Craft turned to her big hitters to save the day on Wednesday.
Led by Kristina Carbajal's 3-for-3 performance with a home run, double and three RBIs and a 2-for-3 day with a home run on her first plate appearance of her sophomore season by returning all-state selection Carlie Daniel, the Comets banged out 10 hits and survived with a 7-5 victory in their season opener.
"It wasn't pretty," Craft said. "But we won."
The Comets made three costly errors in back of winning pitcher Dani Cowan and a two-out error in the top of the first allowed the Gauchos to jump out to a 2-0 lead.
Palomar tied the game in the bottom of the inning on Kristrin George's single and Daniel's home run. The Comets then went in front in the last half of the second when Lizzy Hutzler was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Kaylee Hughen's RBI single.
The Gauchos tied the game with another unearned run in the third, but Carbajal homered to lead off the forth and the Comets were back in front 4-3.
Palomar made it 7-3 in the fith inning on three walks, Casrbajal's two-run double and Maci Lerno's RBI single.
Another Palomar error allowed the visitors to score the game's last two runs in the top of the sixth.
Hughen joined Daniel and Carbajal in the multiple-hit column by going 2-for-3.
Defending champ Comets start No. 1 in state
SACRAMENTO (1-28-2014) -- Defending champion Palomar will begin the 2014 softball season on Wednesday ranked No. 1 in the state by the California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association.
Lacey Craft (left), the former Palomar and San Diego State third baseman who will begin her third season as head coach when the Comets host Saddleback on Wednesday at 3 p.m., guided the 2013 team to a 33-14 record. Palomar won its fourth CCCAA state championship with a 7-2 victory over Riverside City College in the state tournament title game.
The Comets also won the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship, the 30th conference title in the program's 36-year history.
Riverside opens the season ranked No. 2 in California, followed in the Top Ten by No. 3 Sierra, No. 4 College of San Mateo, No. 5 Cypress, No. 6 Sacramento City College, No. 7 Shasta, No. 8 College of the Canyons, No. 9 Mt. SAC and No. 10 Fresno City College.
Palomar, Riverside and Cypress are ranked 1-2-3 in Southern California. Saddleback, Wednesday's opening-game opponent, is ranked eighth in SoCal.
Comets begin state title defense Jan. 29 at home
SAN MARCOS (1-22-2014) --Coach Lacey Craft's Palomar softball team is slated to begin defense of the state community college championship it won a year ago on Friday, Jan. 29, at home when the Comets open 2014 play with a non-conference game against Saddleback. The opener is slated for a 3 p.m. start.
The Comets will play four more non-conference games before beginning their Pacific Coast Athletic Conference season against new conference member Mt. San Jacinto College on Feb. 19 in Menifee.
Palomar will play each of the other six PCAC teams three times.
Coach Lacey Craft guided the 2013 team to a 32-14 record, an 11-4 record to win the college's 30th state championship and the Comets' fourth state title.
SOFTBALL: NFCA National Award
Palomar's softball coaching staff (L to R): Volunteer coach Carl Grubb, head coach Lacey Craft (also pictured below), assistant coach Ginalee Davis, assistant coach and retired Hall of Fame head coach Mark Eldridge. -- Courtesy Photo.
PC coaches named National Staff of the Year
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (10-15-2013) --Palomar's softball coaches have been honored as National Community College Staff of the Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. The award will be presented at the NFCA National Convention on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio.
Head coach Lacey Craft and assistant coaches Mark Eldridge, the Comets' retired head coach, Ginalee Davis and volunteer coach Carl Grubb, guided Palomar's 2013 team to the CCCAA state community college championship at Bakersfield. The Comets defeated Riverside City College 7-2 in the title game.
Eldridge was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame on Nov. 12, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Craft played for Eldridge at Palomar and was a three-year starter at San Diego State University.
The state championship was the fourth for Palomar's softball program.
ABOVE: Second baseman Raea Tanielu applies a tag vs. Riverside City College in a 2012 game. Tanielu will play at San Jose State. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW:Brenna Parker, the Most Valuable Pitcher in the 2013 CCCAA State Tournament, will play at NAIA Women's World Series qualifier Cal State San Marcos
Seven softball players on way to four-year level
SAN MARCOS (7-30-2013) --Five more Palomar softball players are moving on to continue their careers at the four-year level, led by CCCAA State Tournament Most Valuable Pitcher Brenna Parker to NAIA Women's World Series qualifier Cal State San Marcos.
Vista High School product Parker also was as dangerous a hitter as there was in California community college ranks during the recent season as she batted .474 with 18 doubles, a triple, 15 home runs and 64 runs batted in. She led the state in homers and RBIs in helping lead coach Lacey Craft's Comets to their fourth state championship.
Other softball players joining the list of Comets moving on to four-year colleges are catcher Mercedes Montanez (NCAA Division II Felician College in Lodi, NJ), outfielder Haylee Williams (Felician College), catcher Ana Tavarez (Mid-American Nazarene University of the NAIA in Olathe, KS) and second baseman Raena Tanielu (Division I San Jose State), a first-team all-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference selection from Palomar's 2012 team.
They join outfielder Jasmine Vogel (El Camino High School), who signed early with D-II Colorado State University-Pueblo, and infielder Hollie Hinkle (Murrieta Valley), who transferred at the semester to the NAIA's University of Pikeville in Pikeville, KY.
Vogel was a two-time All-PCAC selection who made the 2013 all-state tournament team.
Tanielu becomes the 104th softball player in program history to move on to the Division I level -- and the 163rd Comet to move on to the four-year level.
The list of Palomar athletes who are moving on to four-year colleges in all sports to date has now reached 37.
SOFTBALL (7) -- P-UT Brenna Parker(Vista) -- Cal State San Marcos / OF C Mercedes Montanez (Rancho Buena Vista) -- Felician (NJ) College / OF Haylee Williams (Carlsbad) -- Felician (NJ) College / C Ana Tavarez (El Camino) -- Mid-American Nazarene / OF Jasmine Vogel (El Camino) -- Colorado State University-Pueblo / 2B Raea Tanielu (Westview) from 2012 Palomar team -- San Jose State / INF Holly Hinkle (Murrieta Valley) mid-year transfer -- University of Pikeville (OH)
2013 State Championship Season
ABOVE: Palomar's 2013 California State Champion softball team, shown in a picture from April 24. -- File Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT:Mercedes Montanez, who went 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. BELOW RIGHT: Comets after the game. -- Courtesy Photo by Nick Ellis for the California Community College Athletic Association
Comets declaw Tigers, win fourth state title
BAKERSFIELD (5-19-2013) --Mercedes Montanez went 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI on Sunday afternoon, giving Palomar a 7-2 win over Riverside City College for its fourth CCCAA State Softball Championship.
Earlier, coach Lacey Craft's Comets had defeated College of San Mateo 5-4 on Friday night and Shasta 4-3 on Saturday to capture the winners' bracket of the double-elimination tournament. RCC, battling out of the losers bracket after an opening-round loss to Shasta, handed Palomar an 8-2 loss earlier Sunday to force an "if necessary" game.
In the final game, Palomar jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top half of the first inning.
Megan Bartee led off the game by singling to right field. Maren Lebsock reached base on a sacrifice fielder's choice, putting runners at first and second with none out.
With one out, Brenna Parker was safe at first on a fielder's choice, with Lebsok being forced at second and Bartee advancing to third.
Paige Falconieri reached on an error by RCC's right fielder. Parker advanced to third and Bartee came home to put the Comets up 1-0. Montanez singled to drive in Parker, making it 2-0.
Palomar then added two runs in the second inning one in the fourth and two in the fifth to open a 7-0 lead on the Tigers, the top seed out of Southern California and the Orange Empire Conference champions.
That's the way it remained until Riverside scored its only two runs in the bottom of the seventh on Olivia Fimbress' two-run home run to left field.
Winning pitcher Parker, who took a two-hit shutout into the seventh, allowed four hits in the inning but worked her way out of a late jam to leave two Riverside runners stranded and give the Comets (33-14) their first state title since 2000.
Carlie Daniel and Jasmine Vogel each had a single and an RBI for the Comets. Kristin George drove in two runs.
Palomar and Riverside were tied 0-0 throuigh the first four innings of Sunday's first game. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the fifth and went on to win the game.
Parker hit a solo home run for the Comets. Bartee went 2-for-3 with a steal and George had the other hit.
Lebsock, the second baseman, fielded a groundball and threw out Riverside's Courtney Brown at first for the final out of the championship game and the tournament.
Palomar won its first two state championships in 1989 and 1993. Mark Eldridge, now retired as head coach but currently Craft's No. 1 assistant, coached the Comets to their previous three state titles. He was inducted into the National Fast-Pitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in December.
Lacey Craft thus becomes the first head coach other than Eldridge to guide a Palomar team to the state championship.
Craft and Palomar assistant coach Ginalee Davis both played for the Comets for Eldridge on teams that advanced to the State Tournament. Craft went on to become the starting third baseman at San Diego State University. Davis went on to become a first-team NAIA All-American shortstop at Lubbock Christian University. She helped lead Lubbock Christian to the 2008 NAIA National Championship in Decatur, AL.
Eldridge played three sports at Palomar and played safety for the Washington State University football team.
Craft’s other assistant coach is Carl Grubb, a former volunteer coach at the University of Georgia.
The Tigers finished the season 45-6.
SOFTBALL: State Tournament Awards
Daniel MVP and Parker Most Valuable Pitcher
BAKERSFIELD (5-19-2013) --Palomar's newly-crowned State champions took home three individual awards from the state tournament.
Carlie Daniel (left) was named tournament Most Valuable Player.
Brenna Parker (right) was named Most Valuable Pitcher.
And shortstop Megan Bartee received the Golden Glove Award.
The only individual award that eluded the Comets went to Natalie Barrios, Riverside's leadoff batter, who was named Outstanding Hitter.
Daniel is a freshman pitcher / utility player out of San Marcos High School. Parker is a sophomore pitcher / utility player from Vista High School. Bartee is a freshman shortstop from Lakeside High School in Lake Elsinore.
The Comets were represented by six players on the all-tournament team. Joining Daniel, Parker and Bartee as all-tourney selections were Mercedes Montanez (sophomore catcher, Rancho Buena Vista High School), Jacyln Meester (sophomore first baseman, Rancho Buena Vista High School) and Jasmine Vogel (sophomore outfielder, El Camino High School).
Other members of the Palomar state championship team are Ashley Wisma (freshman outfielder, Escondido High School), Maren Lebsock (freshman infielder, San Pasqual High School), Kaylee Hughen (freshman outfielder, Rancho Buena Vista High School), Kristin George (freshman utility player, Fallbrook High School), Emily Metz (freshman infielder, Del Norte High School), Ana Tavarez (sophomore catcher, El Camino High School), Haylee Williams (sophomore outfielder, Carlsbad High School), Paige Falconieri (freshman utility player, Escondido High School), Lizzy Hutzler (freshman outfielder, Fallbrook High School), Susie Meza (sophomore utility player, El Camino High School) and red-shirts Amanda Cochran (utility player, Vista Murrieta High School) and Caitlin Washburn (pitcher, Julian Charter High School).Montanez, Bartee are named Athletes of Week
SAN DIEGO (5-22-2013) --Mercedes Montanez (left) and Megan Bartee (right), who played key roles as Palomar won the CCCAA State softball tournament, are the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference's final Women's Athletes of the Week for the 2012-13 academic year.
Montanez, the Comets' sophomore catcher from Rancho Buena Vista High School, went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a walk on Sunday as Palomar defeated Riverside City College 7-2 in the State Championship game at Bakersfield. She'd gone 2-for-4 in a 4-2 victory over Shasta on the previous day.
Bartee, a freshman shortstop fromLakeside High in Lake Elsinore, received the Golden Glove award as the outsranding defensive player in the state tournament. She went 2-for-3 in the state championship game win vs. RCC and aloso went 2-for-4 with an RBI in a 5-4 win over College of San Mateo to open Final Four Weekend..
Bartee's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning lifted the Comets to the win over San Mateo.
Comets do it again, are 1 win from 4th state titleBAKERSFIELD (5-18-2013) -- Brenna Parker (left) went 3-for-3 and notched the pitching win on Saturday afternoon as Palomar moved to within one win of its fourth state softball championship.
Paige Falconieri drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly to left field in the top of the seventh inning to give coach Lacey Craft's Comets (32-13) a 4-3 victory over Shasta (40-8) in the winners' bracket finals at the CCCAA Final Four at Bakersfield College's Dean & Adah Gay Sports Complex.
Palomar will sit back and await the survivor of the losers bracket, either Shasta, Riverside City College or College of San Mateo, in the championship game at noon on Sunday. If the Comets win, the tournament is over. Palomar would have to lose twice for one of those teams to win the state title.
Palomar will be attempting to win its first state championship since 2000, when the Comets defeated Long Beach City College 1-0 in the title game at Fresno. PC's first two state titles came in 1989 and 1993.
Palomar scored single runs in the second and third innings and was ahead of Shasta 2-0 going into the bottom of sixth, when the Knights pushed across three runs to lead 3-2.
The Comets answered right back to tally the tying and winning runs in the top of the seventh before Parker retired the side 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
Megan Bartee drew a walk to begin the top half of the seventh. With one out, Shasta's pitcher threw the ball away on a fielder's choice, and Parker followed with a double to left center for her third hit of the afternoon to tie the gqme.
Falconieri's sac fly scored Carlie Daniel, on base on a fielder's choice, for what turned out to be the winning run.
Parker's 3-for-3 day at the plate featured two doubles, three RBIs and a walk. She pitched a five-hitter in going in throwing her complete game.
Mercedes Montanez and Daniel each went 2-for-4 as the Comertsd banged out eight hits off two Shasta pitchers. Jaclyn Meester was 1-for-2.
The Knights, the No. 2 seed from Northern California, had won 20 of their previous 21 games.
The winner of Saturday's 5:30 p.m. game between Riverside and San Mateo was scheduled to face Shasta at 8 p.m. to determine Palomar's Sunday opponent. RCC led San Mateo 1-0 after the first two innings in the 5:30 game.
Bartee's sac fly gives PC upset over No. 1 teamBAKERSFIELD (5-17-2013) -- Megan Bartee (left) drove home Jasmine Fogel with a sacrifice fly to center field in the top of the eighth inning Friday evening, giving Palomar a 5-4 upset of state No. 1-ranked College of San Mateo to begin the CCCAA State Championship Final Four.
Bartee had doubled with none out and moved up to third on Kristin George's fielder's choice.
With the victory at Bakersfield College's Dean & Adah Gay Sports Comlex, the Comets ran their record to 31-13 and will play the winner of the late game between Riverside City College and Shasta in the winners' bracket on Saturday at 3 p.m. RCC took an early 1-0 lead in that game, which began after the 8 p.m. scheduled starting time. The San Mateo Bulldogs (41-5) will play the loser of Friday's second game in an elimination game at 5:30 p.m.
The Final Four runs through Sunday, with Palomar attempting to win its first state championship since the Comets defeated Long Beach City College 1-0 in the 2000 finals at Fresno.
College of San Mateo jumped out to a 2-0 first-inning lead. Palomar came back to go in front 3-2 when Paige Falconieri hit a three-run home run over the left-center field fence in the top of the sixth.
The Bulldogs regained the lead 4-3 in the bottom of the inning, but the Comets sent the game into extra innings on back-to-back-to-back singles by Bartee, Maren Lebsock and Carlie Daniel in the seventh. Daniel's hit drove Bartee and tied the game at 4-4.
Bartee, Daniel, Vogel and Jacelyn Meester each went 2-for-4 to pace an 11-hit attack for coach Lacey Craft's squad.
Lebsock, playing second base, made a spectacular diving catch for the final out of the game with runners at second and third and two outs in the San Mateo half of the eighth inning.
Brenna Parker threw a complete game to pick up the victory.
Eldridge joins D-I coaches in NFCA Hall of Fame
ORLANDO, Florida (11-30-12) -- Longtime Palomar coach Mark Eldridge became the third community college coach in history and the first in nine years to be inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Friday.
Eldridge was one of three inductees in the Class of 2012 at this week's NFCA National Convention in Orlando, along with Patty Gasso (University of Oklahoma) and Donna Papa (University of North Carolina).
The Hall of Fame banquet and cermonies took place at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa. Eldridge and his family will fly to Orlando on Thursday.
Eldridgebecame the sixth coach from a California college or university to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Sharron Backus (UCLA, 1991), Judy Garman (Golden West CC / Cal State Fullerton, 1993), Sue Enquist (UCLA, 2006), Gary Torgeson (Cal State Northridge, 2008) and Diane Ninemire (Cal, 2009)
Eldridge retired from his second stint at Palomar after the 2010 season, finishing with a 1,083-304-5, record, 29 conference championships and three state titles. He joined Lorene Ramsey (Illinois Central College, 1992) and Celeste Knierim (St. Louis Community College, Meramec, 2003) as the only community college coaches along-side 54 from 4-year colleges in the Hall of Fame.
A number of Division I coaches in the Hall of Fame, including Garman, previously coached on the community college level prior to moving on to the four-year level.
Along with his three softball state champion teams, Eldridge has been a head coach and / or assistant for Palomar state championship teams in football, women's golf and men's track & field. As a Palomar track & field assistant, Eldridge introduced Tom Petranoff, a converted baseball player, to the javelin and was Petranoff's first javelin coach. Petranoff went on to set the world record in the event twice.
As an athlete, Eldridge starred in football, baseball and track & field (as a javelin thrower) at Palomar. He was a football safety in what was then the Pac-8 Conference for Washington State University and was a football player and javelin thrower at Long Beach State.
LeBeau ends '12 as Buckeyes' No. 3 hitter at .319
COLUMBUS, Ohio (5-18-2012) -- Palomar transfer and two-time Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year Danielle LeBeau has completed a big junior softball season for Ohio State.
LeBeau, the Buckeyes' designated player, hit .319, third-best among Ohio State's hitters. She had eight doubles, two home runs, 26 RBIs and a .422 slugging percengage.
During a late-season run, the former National Softball Coaches Association community college All-American selection at Palomar went 2-for-4 with a double against Buffalo, 3-for-3 with a double vs. Nebraska, 2-for-4 with an RBI vs. Northwestern and 3-for-3 with a double and RBI, also against Northwestern.
LeBeau, a Poway High School product who went unnoticed by four-year college recruiters coming out of high school, also helped lead Ohio State to two road wins ito close the season at Penn State last week.
LeBeau's RBI double gave the Buckeyes a 3-2 victory over the Nittany Lions on May 11. She had a key single as Ohio State beat Penn State again on May 13, this time 4-1. The wins gave the Buckeyes a a two games-to-one edge in the final series of the year to conclude their season 31-23 overall, 10-13 in the Big Ten.
2014 Softball Schedule, Results
Head Coach: Lacey Craft (Palomar / San Diego State University)
Assistant Coach: Mark Eldridge (Palomar / Washington State, Long Beach State University)
Assistant Coach: Ginalee Davis (Palomar / Lubbock Christian University)
Assistant Coach: Danielle LeBeau (Plaomar / The Ohio State University)
Assistant Coach: Carl Grubb
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