Media contact: Amanda L. Booren
HOUSTON - Playing the game its own tried and true way, plus adding a wrinkle or two, worked out just fine for the San Jacinto College softball team at the season-opening Whitecap Invitational in Galveston.
Hitting .361 as a team and stealing 13 bases to boot, San Jacinto College produced wins in four of its five games over two days on the island, Jan. 30-31.
Included in the mix was a 9-1 laugher over defending national champion and perhaps new Region XIV rival Angelina College.
Overall, San Jacinto College pitchers and the team’s defense combined to allow just eight total runs.
Tournament host Galveston did its part with a 5-0 record, including its own win over Angelina, but San Jac clearly made a statement, too.
“I was very happy with the way we started the season,” San Jacinto College Head Coach Kelly Saenz said. “We stole 13 bases, which is unheard of for us. But we took advantage of some of the chances we had and got going on the basepaths.”
Out of the gate with five games in three days, San Jacinto College is now preparing to step things up a notch.
The team will make a trip to Atmore, Alanama, where it will be in the field at the Wallace State Invitational. There, San Jacinto College will play seven games over a three-day span, including a Feb. 8 early-morning matchup against preseason No. 4 nationally-ranked Chattanooga State Community College.
Saenz acknowledged the locals will need to dip deeper into their resource of pitching to cover this event. Sophomore returnees Bridget Stein and Katy Potter handled the duties in the circle in Galveston.
Beyond that, San Jacinto College simply wants to keep doing what it does best – swing the sticks well and play good, solid defense.
Angelina earned the preseason No. 1 ranking after winning the 2014 national crown and welcoming back several of the players who made that possible. San Jacinto College, handled well by Angelina both at regionals and again at nationals a season ago, dealt a little payback in the 2015 season opener.
The San Jac offense erupted for four first-inning runs, and Stein controlled things from there in the easy 9-1 win. Over six innings, Stein allowed one unearned run on three hits with five strikeouts.
The Jan. 30 nightcap against the University of Houston-Victoria did not go as well. The San Jac bats went silent in a 3-1 loss as Potter absorbed the loss despite pitching well. The team’s offensive leader was another freshman, Brittany Woods, who had a solo homer and a double in the win.
Playing three games Jan. 31, San Jacinto College went undefeated. Rose State College fell 6-3 as Potter got the win, allowing two earned runs and six hits. Nunez and Gonzalez were back at it for the locals, combining for four hits in the victory. Stein then blanked Kilgore 4-0 on four hits as Alyssia Torres had a double among her three hits.
In a 7-1 win over Ranger, Stein threw five innings in relief as San Jacinto College closed out the tournament on a high note.
“We just didn’t hit against UHV, but sometimes that happens in this game,” Saenz said. “Great opening weekend for us otherwise, so we’ll just keep working and try to get better every day.”
As for Angelina, the Roadrunners went 3-2 in Galveston. As mentioned before, host Galveston went 5-0 in the event to kick off its season.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.