Lady Arabs feed off 14 hits in victorious home opener

Lady Arabs pitcher (#10) Maritza Rojas’ wind-up baffled Roadrunners batters.

IMPERIAL — The Imperial Valley College Lady Arabs laced up the cleats and took to the diamond in their regular season Pacific Coast Athletic Conference women’s softball home opener Wednesday afternoon where they knocked around the College of the Desert Roadrunners 7-3.

The Roadrunners’ first three batters were retired by astute fielding by the Lady Arabs. It didn’t take long in the bottom of the first inning before IVC’s second batter and outfielder, Melannie Ibarra, cracked a triple after a fielding error resulted in extra bases and an early 1-0 IVC lead.     

Leaving a Roadrunner stranded on first, IVC led off the bottom of the second with a sharply driven double along the third base line by infielder Celeste Bernal. The next batter, Hazmin Guardado, slapped a grounder up the middle to reach first base and advanced the runner from second to third. 

After two consecutive ground outs, outfielder Claudia Gasca came up to the plate and poked one into right field which scored two runners and gave the Arabs a 3-0 advantage. Following a walk, pitcher Maritza Rojas ripped a line drive into center field that brought in another run adding to the two-out rally with a score of 4-0.

IVC gave up its first hit of the game in the top of the third, but COD was unable to produce points in their third at-bat.

The Lady Arabs put two more hits together in the bottom half of the third inning as Victoria Martinez singled to center field and Guardado made contact when a throwing error resulted in another unearned run to make the margin 5-0 IVC.  

The Roadrunners threatened to score in the fourth inning, but a bullet to home plate by infielder Rebecca Silva beat the base runner and the score remained 5-0 up until the sixth inning.

COD finally managed to break the seal when relief pitcher Sinclaire Mays found herself in a jam with bases loaded and only one out. A missed fly ball allowed two to come in, making it a 5-2 contest midway through the sixth inning.

The Lady Arabs would answer right back to load the bases on their next at bat. A shot to right field by Rojas batted in another run to make the score 6-2 IVC.

Martinez sent one into deep left field that managed to bring in one more run and increase the lead by five runs at 7-2, before a fly out to right field closed out the sixth.

COD was able to score one more time on a passed ball, but Lady Arabs closer Mays held off the Roadrunners’ final comeback attempt allowing IVC to come away with the 7-3 victory.

“Both pitchers pitched very good and I think everyone did well over all,” said Jill Lerno, the Arabs’ head coach. “On the offensive side, we hit the ball very well. We had 14 hits on the day.” 

The Lady Arabs were edged out by Grossmont City College 5-1 on Friday, which brings IVC’s record to 10-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play.