SAN MARCOS — Patty Taylor doesn't know why, but she pitches better when she's under pressure.
Taylor, who pitches for Saddleback College, had plenty of opportunities to find out why during the state community college softball tournament Saturday at Palomar College.
Taylor (31-6) pitched out of trouble several times and the Gauchos ( 37-11) scored a run in the top of the 12th inning to defeat top-seeded Rancho Santiago, 2-1, and move into today's final at Palomar College. Rancho Santiago falls to 35-10.
At noon today, Rancho Santiago will play Sacramento City, which beat San Joaquin Delta, 5-1, in the losers' bracket. The winner plays Saddleback for the state title at 2 p.m.
Taylor worked out of jams in the 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th innings. The Gauchos scored in the 12th when Lori Methot's RBI single scored Pam Sawyer from second base.
Taylor survived two fielding errors that she committed in the 12th that put two runners on with one out.
"She is the best when the game is on the line," said Pete Morris, Saddleback coach.
Saddleback took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by shortstop Dina Graham.
With one out in the inning, Methot singled down the right-field line. She moved to second when Rancho Santiago pitcher Joyce Lyman hit Debbie Hartwig with a pitch. One out later, Graham singled to drive in the run.
Rancho Santiago tied the score in the fifth, 1-1.
Debbie Kerr singled to left to open the inning and moved to second on a throwing error by third baseman Annette Heredia. Sandy Ortiz moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Taylor looked as if she would get out of the inning when she struck out Christy Alvarez, but Taylor threw a wild pitch to score Kerr.
In the first round Saturday, Rancho Santiago took advantage of seven errors and five walks to easily defeat San Joaquin Delta, 10-0, in five innings.
Lyman threw a three-hitter and did not allow a baserunner to second until two out in the fifth. Alvarez had a two-run sacrifice fly for the Dons.
An RBI double in the first inning by designated hitter Kelly Decker was all Saddleback needed to defeat Sacramento City, 1-0.