Roadrunners sweep the Dons

Record breaker Alexandra Perkins and home run hitter Devon Rodriguez.

Dons 2013 Softball playoffs versus College of the Desert.

The game, and the season, had been over for about 20 minutes. The dugouts were empty. One player remained on the field.

Sophomore Alexandra Perkins sat against the centerfield fence, hands over face. Moments passed, Perkins stood up, collected her belongings, and then came the long walk into her mother’s waiting arms.

“I am just happy she came in,” Susan Perkins, Alexandra’s mother, said.

“I thought we were going to have to bring her a sleeping bag.”

The Dons’ season ended May 5 after back-to-back losses to College of the Desert in the California Community College Athletic Association Softball Southern Regional Championships.

“We went in a little bit blind. We had never seen them play,” Co-Head Coach Jessica Rapoza said.

The two teams have reputations as offensive powerhouses with Desert invoking the mercy rule in 15 wins. The Dons won 12 games the same way.

But through the first three scoreless innings Saturday, the game was a pitcher’s duel.

The Roadrunners broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning, capped by a three-run home run by freshman Janelle Eccles. The Dons lost 8-4.

Freshman first baseman Sabrina Perez hit two home runs in the Dons loss, setting a school record for most two-home-run games. Perez also hit two home runs in a 7-6 loss against visiting Saddleback College on
March 13.

The agony wasn’t over.

In the bottom of the seventh inning Sunday, sophomore Roadrunner Karina Romero stepped to the plate representing the game-winning run.

Prior to Romero’s at bat, Rapoza called a timeout, asking her entire infield to take part in the discussion at pitcher’s circle. Simultaneously, Co-Head Coach Kim Nutter yelled to her outfield, all of whom were sophomores: “The batter is the one who beats us.”

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She called it.

Romero, the Foothill Conference Player of the Year, crushed a pitch from Dons freshman Chantal Oelrich for a two run, walk-off home run, defeating the Dons 7-6 and ending their season. There would be no next game in 2013 for the Dons. For seven sophomores, it would be their last.

Despite their early exit from the playoffs, 2013 was a good year on the softball diamond.

It was the second time in three seasons that the team hosted a
playoff series.

The record books were rewritten in multiple categories, including three times by Perkins, who set marks for stolen bases in a single season and career, and most career runs scored.

“I have some great memories from my time as a Don,” Perkins said.

Record breaker Alexandra Perkins and home run hitter Devon Rodriguez.

RECORD BREAKERS

Sophomore Alexandra Perkins set a new school record in three categories: career and single season stolen bases, and career runs. Perez also set a new mark, with two, for the number of two-home-run games.

HOME RUN HITTERS

Freshman Sabrina Perez and sophomore Devon Rodriguez combined for 21 home runs, 74 RBIs and 36 extra-base hits in more than 200 at bats. The two rewrote Santa Ana College softball records for home runs in a single season and a career. Perez and Rodriguez also worked 35 walks, while striking out 21 times.

“The best part about hitting a home run is not having to sprint through first base.”
-First baseman Sabrina Perez

NUMBERS GAME

  • 2:  Of the past three seasons, the Dons have hosted a CCCAA Southern Regional series.
  • 36 = Number of home runs in 2013, which doubles the former SAC record of 18 set by the 2011 squad.
  • 125 = Extra-base hits, the second highest in the OEC.


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