Caldwell no-hitter keeps Hawks grounded
ORANGE, CA. (2/10/2023) – Sophomore pitcher India Caldwell turned in a strong enough outing to account for a dominant win, but the support she received from the Palomar College offense combined with a shaky Santiago Canyon defense made her job in the circle all that much easier on Friday.
Caldwell, a Mission Vista High product, pitched her first career no-hitter as the sixth-ranked Comets rolled to a 13-0 road victory over Santiago Canyon in a contest which was shortened to five innings when Palomar erupted for six runs in the top of the fifth inning.
While pitching the Comets to their sixth consecutive win to open the season, Caldwell improved her record to 4-0. The leadoff batter for Santiago Canyon reached base on an infield error at shortstop to start the bottom of the first inning, but Caldwell struck out the side in order after that to end the inning.
The play to start the inning was initially ruled an infield single, but was later changed to an error by the official scorer at Santiago Canyon. The Hawks (2-5), perennial contenders in the Orange Empire Conference, were unable to put any additional runners on base as Caldwell retired the final 15 batters in a row. She finished with four strikeouts.
"India threw really well, especially considering Santiago Canyon is a good offensive team," Comets coach Lacey Craft said following the win. "She didn't have a lot of strikeouts, but the defense played well again behind her.
"But as well as India pitched, our offense was a real highlight. We had a lot of offensive breakouts. Players like Mariah Briceno and Mariah Diaz, who haven't had a chance to play much yet, contributed along with everyone else. It was cool to see us hit like that."
Briceno, a freshman out of Mission Hills High, and Diaz, a freshman from San Marcos High, each hit run-scoring doubles during the Comets' fifth-inning outburst, which capped a 10-hit Palomar assault on the day.
Sophomores Allyson Amato and Malachy Russell-Millen each had two hits for the Comets, and it was Russell-Millen's grand-slam home run which fueled a four-run fourth inning for Palomar, giving the Comets a 7-0 lead.
"Mal's big home run really got everybody going," Craft said.
Palomar initially got on the scoreboard with a three-run second inning sparked by three walks, a hit batter, an RBI single by Amato and the first of four Santiago Canyon errors.
Palomar will be in action again on Feb. 15 with a nonconference home game against Chaffey of the Inland Empire Conference. First pitch at Bradley Park is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.