The No. 8 College of the Canyons softball team found itself down but not deterred on Thursday, as the Cougars battled back from a 7-1 deficit to eventually defeat visiting Allan Hancock College 8-7 in extra innings at Ray Whitten Field.
Canyons (7-5) slammed 17 hits in the rallying effort, with every player in head coach John Wissmath’s lineup recording at least one hit. A total of six Cougars finished the day with multiple hits.
In the circle COC sophomore Alexis Ramirez (5-1) pitched the entire eight innings and was credited with the win.
Ramirez struggled to find her spots early on, but kept Canyons in the game until the Cougars were able to find their rhythm at the plate. She walked four and struck out three along the way.
Ramirez took a hard line drive of her leg in the first inning, and eventually surrendered three runs in the frame to put the Bulldogs ahead 3-0.
Canyons got on the board in the bottom of the third inning when Gabrielle Padilla ripped an RBI single to center field that plated Julianna Carlos to make it a 4-1 game.
Padilla finished the game 3-for-3.
After a three-run fifth inning by the Bulldogs made it 7-1, the Cougars were once again on the ropes.
However, the game was just getting started.
In the bottom half of that inning freshman Sarah Wilson came up with a two-run double that scored Padilla and Nicole Maliniemi. One batter later COC cleanup hitter Kiana Holder’s groundball out scored Ariana Rea to make it 7-4.
Wilson was 2-for-4 on the day with a pair of doubles. Holder was 2-for-4 with a team-high three RBIs.
With her offense behind her, Ramirez pitched scoreless softball the rest of the way. That gave Canyons the opportunity it needed to spark a rally.
In the bottom of the seventh inning Rea singled to lead off the inning, and Wilson doubled to put the Cougars in business with two on and nobody out. A clutch RBI double from Holder scored both runners and made it 7-6.
Holder moved to third on a passed ball and eventually scored when Azmarheen Anderson displayed some clutch hitting of her own with an RBI double that tied the game at 7-7.
In the Canyons half of the eighth Maliniemi led the inning off with a single that kept the momentum on COC’s side.
Sophomore Cheyenne Steward then stepped to the plate and ripped a would-be walk off home run just foul. After fouling off repeated pitches Steward doubled to move Maliniemi to third and setup the play of the game.
With Rea batting, a ball hit to the Bulldog infield prompted Maliniemi to break for home and induce a play at the plate.
From there, a well-timed Allan Hancock throw and minor collision resulted in Maliniemi sprawled across home plate and brought the Cougars rushing out of the home dugout as 8-7 winners.
Canyons will next face No. 1 regionally ranked Santiago Canyon College (13-2, 2-1) for a Saturday doubleheader. Games are scheduled to start at noon and 2 p.m.