Appleton Barrels Game Winner in Comeback Victory over Santa Barbara

Photo by Bobby R. Hester
Photo by Bobby R. Hester

It was a flare for the dramatic at Evans Sports Complex on Tuesday afternoon as the Riverside City College softball squad played host to the Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros in a non-conference showdown. After the Tigers kicked the ball around in the early stages of the contests to allow Santa Barbara to grab a five-run lead, they remained gritty to tie up the ball game and force a walk-off scenario in the bottom of the seventh inning. 

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, sophomore designated hitter A'loni Appleton (Rialto, CA) squared up a single through the middle to send home sophomore catcher Aeriel Carlson (Highland, CA) to seal a 6-5 victory.

Appleton came through in the clutch with her second hit of the contest after pinch hitting in the bottom of the fifth inning and recording a knock through the right side.

Prior to the dramatic finale, Riverside found themselves in a tough spot after committing three errors leading to Santa Barbara earning five runs – all coming unearned. Despite the sizable deficit, the Tigers worked to etch two runs in the bottom of the third inning compliments of a solo jack from sophomore third baseman Terri Nava (yucca Valley, CA) and a RBI-triple from Carlson.

Carlson continued on in the bottom of the fifth inning to launch her state-pacing 14th round-tripper – this blast acting as a three-run shot – to tie the contest up at five-all entering into the sixth inning. From there on, the Tigers sat comfortably and confidently behind a relief appearance from freshman Riley Peckels (Moreno Valley, CA).

Peckels stopped the bleeding cold with by entering in the fourth inning and did not allow a single base hit. She fanned three batters in the process and only walked one.

Nava continued to rake at the dish by going 1-for-3 with a solo shot and two runs scored. She paces the Tigers on offense with a .408 batting average. Sophomore left fielder Dayna Gutierrez (Hemet, CA) had a day by recording a 2-for-4 showing with two runs scored, while Carlson went 2-for-2 with a triple, three-run homerun, two runs scored, and four RBI.

Peckels earned her ninth win of the season.

The Tigers (21-9, 8-5 OEC) will pick up conference action on Wednesday, April 4th at 3 p.m. at home against the Golden West College Rustlers.