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Softball starts WSC North play with a winning record

Raiders' pitcher, Phoebe Jackels, practicing her throwing motion during pre-game drills. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

Raiders' pitcher, Phoebe Jackels, practicing her throwing motion during pre-game drills. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

Raiders' pitcher, Phoebe Jackels, practicing her throwing motion during pre-game drills. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

By Ryan Ketcham

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Moorpark College softball began Western State Conference North play with a 2-1 conference record.

The first conference game was against Cuesta College at home on Tuesday, Feb. 27. The Raiders started this game quickly while gaining a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning off of a two-run homer by shortstop Sierra Huerta. Moorpark was not just on fire offensively, however; they were also able to hold the Cougars scoreless during the first two innings.

Cuesta eventually scored when the rain started to fall. During the top of the third inning, rainfall hit the softball field, but instead of an immediate delay, both teams played out the top of the third inning where Cuesta was able to score two runs to tie the score up 2-2.

There was a 10-minute rain delay after that half inning, but Moorpark was unable to regain the momentum that they once possessed prior to the rainfall. Cuesta College was able to score nine more runs to finish off the game with an 11-2 victory over Moorpark. Head Coach Ginny Mitchell thought that her team just needed to be more comfortable during these tough situations.

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Raiders' pitcher, Kylee Beccari is warming her arm up during pre-game routines. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

“The main thing that they need to work on is their mental game,” Mitchell said. “It’s just mentally they have to really be comfortable while they’re playing, and we did not see that today.”

The Raiders’ second WSC North game was against Oxnard College at home on Thursday, March 1. Moorpark began this game similarly to the previous game, with a Sierra Huerta home run in the bottom of the first inning. This time it was a solo-home run and it gave Moorpark an early 1-0, which they turned into a 2-0 lead with a Janessa Lopez RBI single that scored Aubrey Sutherland in the bottom of the second inning.

Moorpark continued this play through the next four innings with only allowing one run and scoring three runs off of an RBI single from Aubrey Sutherland, Jacqueline Ramirez, and Sierra Huerta to push the Raiders lead to 5-1. Moorpark had the four run lead going into the top of the seventh inning, but allowed two runs to narrowly sneak out with the 5-3 victory. Shortstop Sierra Huerta was ecstatic at her team’s play in this bounce back victory.

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Moorpark shortstop Sierra Huerta practices fielding ground balls with her teammates. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

“I knew after that first loss that the girls were going to have a little heart to heart with themselves and come out, and we needed that victory, and we were going to get it no matter what it took,” Huerta said.

The last game of this three game conference home stand for Moorpark was an explosive victory over Santa Monica College on Thursday, March 8. The first inning went by quickly, but during the bottom of the second inning, the Raiders exploded at the plate. Moorpark scored seven runs during the bottom half of the inning, which included a two RBI single by Raiders’ catcher Christina Ipatzi to give Moorpark a 7-0 lead.

The Raiders were also able to hold the Corsairs scoreless through three innings, but finally gave up three runs in the top of the fourth inning, which they later matched with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning to make the score 10-3.

Moorpark then held Santa Monica scoreless in the top of the fifth inning and closed the game out in the bottom of the fifth with a Jackie Ramirez RBI single that brought Janessa Lopez in for the run. The Raiders defeated Santa Monica by a score of 11-3.

“I was just really happy that we won and that the girls showed respect for this team,” Mitchell said. “They played their game and stayed at their level.”

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Lexi Brown, who plays second base and in the outfield, is practicing fielding ground balls backhanded. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

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