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Hancock rides six-run fourth to 8-3 win over Vaqueros

Isabella Gregson, a freshman from Bishop Diego High, delivers an RBI double in the fourth to score SBCC's first run. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Isabella Gregson, a freshman from Bishop Diego High, delivers an RBI double in the fourth to score SBCC's first run. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

Emily Gantt delivered a pinch-hit grand slam in a six-run fourth inning on Thursday as first-place Hancock downed SBCC 8-3 in a WSC North softball game at Pershing Park.

The Bulldogs (23-11, 15-3) have a two-game lead over Cuesta (13-5) with six to play. The Vaqueros fell to 18-15 and 11-9.

Leading 1-0 in the fourth, the first five Hancock batters reached base on two hits and three walks. Gantt hit her fifth homer, a grand slam to left-center, to make it 7-0.

"It was one pitch and one swing making the difference between us being down 4-3 in the seventh or trailing 8-3," said coach Paula Congleton. "That changes the whole scope of the game. We need to continue to learn from that."

Madison McNamee, Monica Salas and Alyssa Richter all had two hits for the Vaqueros. McNamee raised her average to .482, which is second in the WSC North.

The Vaqueros walked six batters and Hancock walked five. SBCC stranded 13 runners on base, including eight in scoring position.

Santa Barbara scored all three of its runs in the fourth. Jasmine Manson reached on an error, Connie Towne was safe on a fielder's choice and Isabella Gregson drilled an RBI double to right-center, scoring Manson. Lauren Hope Ballard walked to load the bases and McNamee slammed a single off the left-field fence to score Towne. Gregson came home on an RBI single by Salas.

"Hancock played a solid game," noted Congleton. "Their pitcher walked a few batters but she bounced back and their hitters supported her."

The Vaqueros travel to No. 7 Santiago Canyon on Tuesday for a nonconference game at 3 p.m.