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Heuberger, Clavel spark Comets’ Game 1 win over LBCC

Heuberger, Clavel spark Comets’ Game 1 win over LBCC

SAN MARCOS (5/10/2024) – Freshman second baseman Josephine Heuberger stroked a two-out RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the seventh inning to score sophomore pinch-runner Carlee Herrmann with the only run of the game, lifting Palomar College to a 1-0 playoff victory Friday over Long Beach City College.

The win, which also featured a one-hit shutout by sophomore pitcher Guilianna "Gigi" Clavel, came in Game 1 of a best-of-3 second-round series for the California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Softball Regionals. The Comets, seeded No. 3, can clinch the series with another victory in Game 2 on Saturday at 12 noon. Game 3, if necessary, would follow Game 2.

The winner of the series advances to the eight-team state tournament being held May 16-19 at West Valley College.

Fresh off a two-game sweep of Compton in the first round of the Regionals, Palomar faced another South Coast Conference team in the No. 6-seeded Vikings, who finished one game behind seven-time defending conference champion Mt. San Antonio in the final South Coast standings. Long Beach City advanced through the first round with a two-game sweep of Citrus, and Vikings pitcher Bayleigh Frey held the Comets scoreless through six innings on four hits in Friday's outing.

Palomar loaded the bases in the second and third innings without scoring, but the hosts finally broke through in the seventh inning, beginning with a one-out single to left field by sophomore designated player Mariah Diaz. After Herrmann came in to pinch run, she advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by freshman catcher Kayla Visser.

Hueberger ended the pitchers' duel with her second hit of the game, which scored Herrmann without a play at the plate and improved Palomar's record to 38-4. Heuberger, a Del Norte High School product, also doubled down the right-field line to lead off the third inning but was unable to score despite walks to freshman first baseman Breanna Lutz and Clavel.

In the pitching circle, Clavel was nearly unhittable, allowing only a one-out single in the fifth inning. The only serious scoring threat by the Vikings came in the second inning when a hit batter and an infield error gave the visitors two baserunners. After advancing on a groundout to Lutz, the two runners were stranded by a short flyout to right which was snared by Heuberger.

Clavel improved her record to 26-4 with her 10th shutout of the season. She had no walks and two strikeouts and was supported by stellar defense by Heuberger, who had six chances at second base including two diving stops to her left to erase would-be base hits.

The loss dropped Long Beach City to 32-11.