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Softball is set to open home WSC North play against Cuesta College on Tuesday, Feb. 27

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Aubrey Sutherland practices pitching and catching with Assistant Coach Joe Mike (left) while Sierra Huerta watches from behind, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 at Moorpark College, in Moorpark, Calif. The team was warming up for the first of two games against the West LA College Oilers. Photo credit: James Detwiler

Aubrey Sutherland practices pitching and catching with Assistant Coach Joe Mike (left) while Sierra Huerta watches from behind, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 at Moorpark College, in Moorpark, Calif. The team was warming up for the first of two games against the West LA College Oilers. Photo credit: James Detwiler

Aubrey Sutherland practices pitching and catching with Assistant Coach Joe Mike (left) while Sierra Huerta watches from behind, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 at Moorpark College, in Moorpark, Calif. The team was warming up for the first of two games against the West LA College Oilers. Photo credit: James Detwiler

By Ryan Ketcham

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Moorpark College softball will be hosting their first Western State Conference North Division game on Tuesday, Feb. 27 against Cuesta College. Starting pitcher Phoebe Jackels can’t wait until their first conference home game.

“All the girls are out here and we are ready for conference,” Jackels said. “That’s our goal this season to work hard every time and to go all the way to the championship.”

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Moorpark College Raiders Softball in a pre-game huddle, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 at Moorpark College, in Moorpark, Calif. The team was preparing for the first of two games against the West LA College Oilers. Photo credit: James Detwiler

Throughout the first 15 games of the season, the Raiders have a 10-5 overall record prior to conference play. Moorpark is also undefeated at home with a 6-0 record. The Raiders, in their first 15 games, are ranked in the top 10 in the CCCAA in many statistics including hits, runs, RBIs, batting average, and slugging percentage. Jackels has seen her team grow so much through the first 15 games and realizes why they have been putting up so many of the top numbers in the CCCAA.

“It’s exciting being out here with these girls,” Jackels said. “We have grown a lot closer this year.”

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Moorpark College Raiders Softball Team photo taken Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 at Moorpark College, Moorpark, Calif. Pictured from top left are Aubrey Sutherland, Kylee Beccari, Phoebe Jackels, Jacqueline Ramirez, Sierra Huerta and Christina Ipatzi. From bottom left are Lexi Brown, Samantha Villa, Emily Lopez and Janessa Lopez. Photo credit: James Detwiler

The Raiders, as previously mentioned, have an undefeated 6-0 home record, where they have beat all teams by at least four runs.

Moorpark opened up at home against Victor Valley College and won the game in five innings by a score of 9-0. Softball Head Coach Ginny Mitchell knew that her team was going to perform well offensively due to the focus in practice.

“We’ve really started focusing on hitting,” Mitchell said. “We have been focusing really hard on offense.”

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Phoebe Jackels pitches for the Moorpark College Raiders during the first of two games played against the West LA College Oilers at Moorpark College in Moorpark, Calif. on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. Photo credit: James Detwiler

The Raiders continued to dominate at home against LA Mission and Santa Ana in a weekend tournament on Feb. 3, by beating LA Mission 12-3 and Santa Ana 5-1. Following the three straight home games came a few road games, but when the Raiders returned home, they had a big test against Glendale Community College.

Glendale came out swinging and was able to score five runs in the top of the first inning. The Raiders were able to storm back however, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning and two in the bottom of the third to tie the score up at five apiece. Moorpark then was able to score an additional four runs, one in the bottom of the fifth inning and three in the bottom of the sixth inning while holding Glendale scoreless for the remainder of the game, to win by a score of 9-5. Mitchell was impressed with her team’s pursuit for victory while being down by so much, but she knew that if she told her team to focus, then they would be ready.

“That’s really tough to come back when you’re down by five runs,” Mitchell said. “Our team can hit, so slowly we’re going to come back and get that score tied.”

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Jacqueline Ramirez sliding towards second base early in the first game played by the Moorpark College Raiders against the West LA College Oilers at Moorpark College in Moorpark, Calif. on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. Photo credit: James Detwiler

The Raiders’ star of the pre-conference season is shortstop Sierra Huerta, who is currently ranked first in the CCCAA in RBIs, total bases, and sacrifice flies in the first 15 games of the season. Huerta has yet to record a strikeout while up to bat this season.

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