SFT: Acosta pitches Vaqueros to sweep

Celeste Acosta pitched a three-hitter and a four-hit shutout and Alice Cen went 4-4 with three RBIs in the nightcap as SBCC swept Moorpark in the last WSC Gold softball doubleheader of the year at Pershing Park.

The Vaqueros won 6-2 and 7-0 to improve to 22-16 overall and 13-5 in conference. They won three straight and seven of their last nine to finish in a second-place tie with Cuesta. Hancock swept Ventura on Tuesday to claim the outright title with a 15-3 record.

It was Sophomore Day on Tuesday and the Vaqueros honored 12 of their 15 players.

Cen, a sophomore shortstop from Sacramento, went 5-6 on the day with five RBIs and two stolen bases. She suffered an injury on a play at second base in the first inning of the second game but stayed in the game.

“Coach always tells us to see the ball early and today, I definitely saw the ball early,” said Cen. “I saw it early and hit it well. This could have been our last game but we’re hoping it’s not.”

The Vaqueros, who pounded out 27 hits on the day, have a small chance of making the 16-team Southern Cal playoffs.

“Alice got cleated at second base and hurt her fingers but she stayed in there,” said coach Paula Congleton. “She’s got the heart of a lion. She’s done a phenomenal job this year.”

Trailing 2-1, SBCC erupted for five runs on six hits in the fifth inning of the first game. Christal Vierra (2-3) drove in the go-ahead run with a single that scored Victoria Lucido and made it 3-2. Lucido and Brianna Gill also had two hits.

Acosta didn’t allow an earned run in 14 innings, striking out 12 in the opener and seven in the second game. She ranks second in WSC games in wins (10), ERA (1.44) and strikeouts (77 in 97 innings).

“I felt really good, I was 100 percent ready,” said Acosta, a sophomore from San Jose. “I knew I was going to pitch both games. I usually get stronger in the second game and I’m not sure why. I just get excited to help my team out from start to finish.

“This is my last year and this might have been my last game. It’s a lot more emotional on Sophomore Day.”

The Vaqueros took a 2-0 lead in the third inning of the second game on RBI singles by Cen and Vierra. Brianna Portese, another sophomore, ignited a three-run fourth inning with a triple to right field. Dakotah Wilcox followed with a sacrifice fly and Cen and Daniel de Castro added run-scoring hits.

“Celeste gets stronger as the day goes on,” Congleton noted. “I think she gets loose and has a little bit better snap. We’re so proud of her and all that she’s done.”

Congleton used five straight pinch-hitters to open the fifth and they produced three singles and a walk. Taylor Stanek drove in Emma Nordin with a groundout and Cen brought home Shannon Kelly with a single through the left side that made it 7-0.

Portese was 2-3 with a triple in the nightcap and Vierra went 2-4 as the Vaqueros matched their season high with 15 hits.

“There were a few tears on the field and they feel good about what they’ve done here at City College,” added Congleton. “All the sophomores will be graduating with their AA degress and a lot of them will be transferring to four-year schools. We’re really proud of all of them.”