WALNUT, CA — The Cypress Chargers defeated Palomar College twice to win their tenth 3C2A Softball State Championship in program history in the 3C2A Softball State Championships Sunday at Mt. San Antonio College.
The Chargers defeated Palomar 3-2 in come-from-behind fashion to open the day forcing a second game and won the title with a 1-0 shutout in game two.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Emily Rush of Cypress pitched two complete games, including a shutout with just five hits in the title-clincher. She also pitched all but one inning of the seven games finishing with a 1.43 ERA, 13 strikeouts, and a 6-1 record. Offensively she finished the week with a .400 batting average, nine RBIs, eight hits, four runs, three home runs, and four walks to lead her team all the way back from an opening-day loss.
The win gives Cypress its first title since 2017. Chargers are the first team since the 2016 four-team tournament to claim the title after losing their opening game.
Palomar sophomore pitcher India Caldwell, who was the California Community College Fastpich Coaches Association (3CFCA) South Pitcher of the Year and National Fastpich Coaches Association (NFCA) Pitcher of the Year, was named the tournament Most Valuable Pitcher. She finished the week with a 1.24 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 34 innings.
Cypress scored what proved to be the difference-making run in the third inning. Freshman right fielder Jaiden Stern, who finished the game two for two, opened the inning with a single to center field. Rush drew a walk to move Stern into scoring position and freshman second baseman Kaitlyn Reynolds hit a single up the middle to plate the only run of the game.
Palomar, which has won two state championships, opened the second game with two singles in the first three at-bats. Sophomore first baseman Allyson Amato singled to left, advanced to second on a ground out, and moved over to third on an infield hit by Faith Steffany. Rush retired the next two batters to end the only scoring threat of the game for the Comets.
Palomar had four singles in the first two innings but could only manage one hit over the final five innings as Rush retired 17 of the final 20 batters.
This is the second runner-up finish for Palomar in the last three contested championships and the first since 2019.
Game One: Cypress 3, Palomar 2
Cypress scored a pair of runs in the top of the seventh to earn a 3-2 win in the opener.
With the Chargers trailing 2-1 entering the inning, Cypress third baseman Camryn Addimando reached on a fielding error to open the inning and moved to second when Mikala Jacobsen was hit by the pitch. The runners each advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Lizbeth Gomez.
That set the stage for a wild sequence as Cypress scored the two go-ahead runs. A passed ball sent the runners in motion. After the ball rolled away from the catcher, Addimando sprinted home, followed by Jacobsen who slid across home plate after a throwing error by the catcher.
Palomar went quietly in the bottom of the seventh with a game-ending double play.
That set the stage for the final game of the tournament.
Cypress opened the scoring with a two-out solo home run by Rush in the top of the third inning. The home run was the third of the week for Rush.
Palomar took the lead in the fourth inning off a single by freshman third baseman Itzell De Los Rio that scored Carlee Herrmann and Addimando.
John M. Sherrard (3C2A)