While it's often said that one player doesn't make a team, it would be difficult to argue against the importance of freshman Vanessa Alvarado's play for the Cypress College women's softball team.
The La Mirada High School alumnus is the Chargers' starting first baseman and one of its biggest sluggers.
She is only one of a handful of players to have started every game and is second on the squad with an impressive .446 batting average.
Alvarado just doesn't hit for average, though.
She also leads the Chargers in doubles (15) and is second in hits (41), RBIs (30), homeruns (3), total bases (65), slugging percentage (.707) and third in runs (25) and walks (9).
Her fielding percentage is solid at .985, and she's only made three errors.
Yet, Alvarado has also done more than just rack up stats - she's also played her best in some of the biggest games.
Alvarado went 4-for-5 with a double against 2009 CCCAA state champion and state No.3-ranked Cerritos on Saturday. She had three RBIs and scored two runs as the No.2-ranked Chargers won 15-13.
The combined 28 runs was the most by two teams in a seven-inning regulation CCCAA game.
The Chargers (23-4) are atop the Orange Empire Conference with an 11-1 conference mark.
Former El Rancho ace Joanna Avila has been seeing a lot more time in the circle recently for the Cerritos softball team.
The right-hander is 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 10 appearances for the Falcons. She's also made four starts.
Avila pitched for Cerritos (22-7) on Saturday in the first game of a double-header that featured Cypress in the nightcap.
Avila gave up eight hits and four earned runs in the Falcons' 4-1 loss to Grossmont.
It was Avila's first loss in a while.
The Montebello-born Avila picked up a win in Cerritos' 16-7 victory over Santiago Canyon on March 16.
That came six days after she allowed no earned runs and one hit in three innings in picking up a win versus El Camino, 21-2.
Avila's other win came against Bakersfield, when she surrendered two hits and no runs in four innings as Cerritos triumphed 11-1 on March 7.
The Pioneer Spirit
While the Mt. SAC women's softball team has been known for its great starting pitching the last few years, the Mounties (22-7) also have a little help coming out of the bullpen.
Sophomore Lisa Hernandez, formerly of Pioneer, boasts a 6-1 mark and has pitched in 17 games while accumulating a 1.85 ERA, which is second-best on the team and fourth-best in the South Coast Conference.
Hernandez's last action, though, came in a starting role on March 19 when she tossed five innings, allowing three hits and no runs in the Mounties' 9-0 win over Pasadena City College.
Hernandez has performed well against some of the state's top teams, including when she pitched 2<MD+,%30,%55,%70>2/<MD-,%0,%55,%70>3 scoreless innings in Mt. SAC's 8-7 come-from-behind win over Grossmont on Feb. 24.
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