After two straight seasons in which the softball program at PCC tallied 25 wins, last year’s 5-30 record was shocking and one of the worst seasons in school history.The Lancers will counter with a resurgent and excited team this year, looking to make amends. “This team has so much potential,” said Head Coach Elaine Martinez.
Martinez, in her second year at the helm of the softball program, has high hopes for her squad this year, “We are at least a .500 team,” said Martinez. “I’m very excited.”
The Lancers are looking to improve on their offense specifically, considering they finished at the bottom of the South Coast Conference (SCC) in every offensive category as a team.
Returning sophomore Jessica Torres was an offensive standout last year, batting .390 with five home runs and 20 RBIs, but the Lancers hope not to lean on her as much.
“Jessica is going to have a breakout season,” Martinez said. “Everyone would look to her for a big hit last year, this year she will have less pressure.”
The two players that will be lightening the load for Torres, are sophomore catcher Vanessa Montes de Oca and freshman “walk on” Cynthia Martinez out of Fairfax High School.
“Cynthia just showed up to tryouts and really surprised us with her hitting,” said coach Martinez.
As much as the hitting has improved, pitcher Melissa O’Connor may determine the way the season ends. “Melissa was injured just before last season began and she is so hungry to compete,” coach Martinez said. “Our season will depend on how long her arm can take us.”
The Lancers will also look to returning sophomore Evelyn Bocanegra as their secondary option at pitcher, but will rely on her to mostly play second base.
The Lancers will have a tough road this year, as the SCC is traditionally one of the toughest softball conferences in the state. SCC power Mt. San Antonio won the State Championship in 2005 and finished with a record of 53-5 last season.
The Lancers open their season on Jan. 29 at Moorpark College and have their home opener on Feb. 1 against College of the Canyons.