The Saddleback softball team edged Orange Coast College, 7-5, on Friday at the Saddleback Softball Diamond. The Gauchos rallied late and then held on for the win.
Saddleback opened up a 5-0 lead by scoring five runs in the bottom half of the second inning. The Gauchos had five hits in the inning and took advantage of a walk and a hit batsman. Mikayla Mattocks opened the scoring by singling home Kacie Tatman with the first run of the game. Later in the inning, McKenna Walton sliced a ball down the right field line to score Jillian Gellatly and Vanessa Alvarran for a 5-0 lead.
Orange Coast cut the lead to 5-4 in the top half of the fourth inning when Saddleback committed an error which eventually cost them three runs. The Pirates then tied the game in the top half of the fifth inning after another miscue in the field.
Saddleback regrouped, scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom half of the fifth inning after Orange Coast returned the favor with an error of their own. Gellatly then made them pay, doubling to right center field to give the Gauchos a 7-5 advantage.
Walton silenced the Orange Coast bats over the final two innings, retiring the final six batters in order. She finished with two strikeouts in the game in improving to 8-22 on the season.
Gellatly and Paige Welk (pictured) finished with three hits apiece as Saddleback outhit Orange Coast 9-6 for the game. Welk's 3-for-3 performance raised her team-leading batting average to .354 for the year.
Saddleback is now 8-22 overall and 4-15 in Orange Empire Conference play with two games remaining on the schedule. The Gauchos will play their final home game on Monday when they host Fullerton College. The first pitch is scheduled for 3:00 PM.