After winning five of their last seven games, the Long Beach City College softball team has broken into the fourth California Community College Fast Pitch Coaches Association (CCCFPCA) Southern California poll of the season for the first time this year.
While sitting two games above .500 with a record of 17-15 in a tough South Coast Conference (SCC) – South division and southern section, the Vikings currently sit ninth in the poll.
At the helm of second-year Head Coach Megan Martinez, the Vikings look to snag a playoff spot for the second-consecutive season. They currently sit tied for second place in the SCC-South with a conference record of 4-2.
"We feel excited to know that our hard work is being recognized by our fellow coaches," explained Martinez, who is on pace to match her first-year mark of 23 wins. "We are in the playoff race and need to keep our rhythm."
Long Beach is paced by an offense that has an overall batting average of .315 to compliment a .358 on-base percentage and a .416 slugging percentage. Freshman utility player Alissa Cienfuegos (Carson, CA) is the most dangerous weapon on the team as she has done it all for the season.
Cienfuegos is unmatched across the SCC-South as she wears multiple visors, so to speak, and is a top-candidate for the Most Valuable Player award. In an even 100 at-bats, the freshman phenome is hitting .410 with a .474 on-base percentage and a whopping .800 slugging percentage (24th in the state). She has barreled team-highs in doubles (14, T-2nd in state) homeruns (7, T-13th in state), and base hits (41, T-25th in state). She has recorded 11 multi-hit contests with four coming in consecutive games. Additionally, in the month of March alone, she has hit five round trippers, a pair of doubles, and a triple.
The batter's box is not the only place the Carson, CA native has been thriving. She has tossed significant innings for the Vikings as well by amassing 103.1 innings in the circle leading to an 8-8 record in 17 games started leading to a lowly ERA of 2.98. She has fanned a total of 79 batters to earn a 5.35 strikeouts-per-inning mark.
Sophomore second baseman Daisy Velasquez (Bellflower, CA) has been a staple for the Vikings this entire season by playing excellent defense and holding down the top-spot in the lineup. In 93 at-bats, she is hitting a hair under .400 with a .398 batting average to go along with 37 hits - eight of them going for extra bases. Velasquez has carted the most consistent swing for Long Beach as she currently holds an 11-game hitting streak after going 5-for-5 in a win against L.A. Harbor on Tuesday.
Sophomore third baseman Denise Flores (Carson, CA), a former Florida State College at Jacksonville outfielder, made the transition to the hot corner and did so flawlessly. She boasts an impressive .962 fielding percentage which is the best amongst the infielders. She has been producing at the dish by earning a .330 batting average to go along with 31 hits and five doubles.
On the pitching front, sophomore southpaw Annisa Hamilton (Long Beach, CA) has come on as a strong option down the stretch by earning an overall record of 4-2 with a 3.23 ERA. She has amassed 39 strikeouts in just 39 innings pitched. Most recently, Hamilton fanned seven batters in relief against El Camino. She has punched out seven batters on three separate occasions this season.
The Vikings will continue their playoff push this Thursday, April 6th by taking on EC-Compton Center at home at 3 p.m.