By C. Harold Pierce
With two outs in the sixth inning Wednesday, Santiago Canyon College infielder Desiree Rascon smashed the ball past the centerfield fence for a two-RBI home run, leading to 3-2 victory over the Dons.
“It was a really fatty pitch, it was right there and I just knew I had to wait, wait, wait and hit it for my team,” Rascon said.
The play was set up by Hawks infielder Sydney Abounassar. She crushed the ball to right field, appearing to be a home run before it bounced off the top of the fence and back into play for a double.
“I thought it went over, so I started celebrating around my way to first base, got a fist pump, then saw the girl [Annie Dowling] scrambling after it, so I ran to second to make sure I got on,” Abounassar said.
Down by one run with two outs in the seventh inning, Dons righty Frances Campoy was called in to close the game. She was out for almost month with tendonitis in her elbow. She threw two strikes and a ball before ending the inning with two on base.
“It felt really good being out there with the girls again and after sitting out so many games. Even if we were down I felt really confident. It was an easy ground ball and an easy pop fly. I wasn’t really worried. I knew my girls could do it,” Campoy said.
The Dons scored two in the second inning when Dowling stole home, capitalizing on a Hawks catching error at second base. When shortstop Kaitlyn Harvey grounded to first, Dons infielder Cynthia Rice took Dowling’s lead and stole home.
The squad grounded the ball infield in every at-bat that inning. It is part of the team’s strategy.
“I think that’s more the focus for a lot of teams. When you hit a fly ball you make the defense run one play, so with a grounder they have to field three plays instead of one so we really try to focus on putting the ball on the ground,” Dons Co-Head Coach Jessica Rapoza said.
The Dons held off an early second inning rally when sophomore pitcher Lindsey Esparza struck out Hawks infielder Stephanie Pelletier with two Hawks in scoring position.
“We know they’re good hitters and we know we need to mix it up and keep them off balance, but big hits are going to happen,” Rapoza said.
The loss ended the Dons’ five game win streak and is the second against SCC this season. The first was a 4-0 shutout March 7.
The Dons face Orange Coast College at 2 p.m. Friday.