Photo by: Romel Baniago
The Chargers were dominating in California Community College Athletic Association softball in the new decade, starting the season 16-1 (6-1 OEC) before the outbreak of COVID-19 brought the season to an abrupt halt.
Cypress College has been a powerhouse in community college softball for decades behind the leadership of long-time coach Brad Pickler, winning 24 Orange Empire Conference championships and 9 state championships since his arrival in 1987. Pickler recently notched his 1,400th career win against El Camino on February 29th in a 6-4 victory.
The Chargers have won 5 straight conference championships and are aiming for another state championship, the latest of which came in 2017.
Cypress has lived up to their history this season, holding opponents to 1 run or less in 11 of their 17 games thus far. Janea Brannen and Eliza Sandoval have shouldered much of the pitching duty so far with ERAs of 1.48 and 1.98 respectively.
However, they are not winning solely thanks to the talent on the mound. The team has a combined .360 batting average, 4 batters with batting averages above .470, and 3 with double digit RBIs. So it is no surprise they are averaging 7 runs per game, which in softball where games are 7 innings and can end even earlier if the score is lopsided enough (which the Chargers have done 5 times this season) averages out to more than a run per inning.
In their game against conference rival Golden West 8-11 (1-6 OEC), the Chargers had started off slow and were down 1-0 headed into the bottom of the 3rd.
The offense was then sparked in part thanks to an error by the Rustlers. The Chargers poured it on in the middle innings and came out victorious yet again 8-1.
Cypress suffered their first loss of the season on March 6th in a close 3-2 defeat against Santiago Canyon. The Chargers led after a 2-run homer by Brannen in the 4th, showing she can play both sides of the ball.
The Santiago Canyon Hawks scored in both the 5th and the 6th and would hold onto the win thanks to the complete game pitched by Mystique Rocha. The 13-7 (6-1 OEC) Hawks look to be the team with the best chance to dethrone the Chargers as reigning conference champs.
The two teams will face off again on April 1st and 22nd, the latter being the final game of the season which could have huge ramifications.
Cypress did get back to winning ways the next day, coming out on top in two games against Antelope Valley.
It may be months before the team can continue their season, if it gets restarted at all.
With how the team was rolling over opponents, the players will be anxious to be able to play again.