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Softball trying to hit their way out of their mid-season skid

Some+of+the+strength+equipment+that+was+used+during+the+Moorpark+practice+on+Thursday%2C+April+5%2C+which+includes+kettle-bells+and+a+medicine+ball.+Photo+credit%3A+Ryan+Ketcham
Some of the strength equipment that was used during the Moorpark practice on Thursday, April 5, which includes kettle-bells and a medicine ball. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

Some of the strength equipment that was used during the Moorpark practice on Thursday, April 5, which includes kettle-bells and a medicine ball. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

Some of the strength equipment that was used during the Moorpark practice on Thursday, April 5, which includes kettle-bells and a medicine ball. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

By Ryan Ketcham

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Following their quick 12-6 start to the season, softball has lost nine out of their last 13 games during this mid-season skid.

Moorpark College softball began their season while playing the majority of their games at home, which included their first four conference games. During this slump however, the Raiders have only played four out of those 13 games at home. Moorpark College shortstop Sierra Huerta wants to be able to upset teams on the road instead of just winning at home.

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The Moorpark College softball team are breaking down the huddle after finishing up their practice routine. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

“I think that one of the biggest takeaways from this game is being able to go to a place that is not your home and just upsetting them,” Huerta said. “I definitely do think that we have some fire at home, but hopefully we can take that to our visitors as well.”

The Raiders currently obtain a 16-15 overall record, but have suffered on the road this season with a 2-9 record. During this streak as well, Moorpark has lost six games on the road and one at a neutral venue. One of the main topics in practice prior to their weekend of doubleheaders on Thursday, April 5 was the importance of hitting since they were shutout in four of their losses while three of the shutouts occurred in a row.

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Moorpark outfielder Jackie Ramirez is practicing hitting off of the pitching machine during practice on Thursday, April 5. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

“One of the biggest things that we are taking away from it is to just attack every game with the mentality of just going hard for every play, really focusing on every at-bat that we go up and take,” Huerta said. “Even though we have been on that skid, I think that every game is new so we just come in trying to focus on what we can do better than our last game to come out and put up some runs and take home some wins.”

The softball practice on Thursday, April 5 prior to the two sets of double headers the next two days was all focusing on hitting. There were many drills mainly based on contact and working on their eye, being able to see the ball and its placement to hit or to take it for a ball. One of the more intriguing drills was the bean toss where one player would toss several beans in the air while the other teammate has to locate the beans and hit them with a small wooden pole that is less than half the size of a regulation bat. Along with this drill was hitting off of the pitching machine, hitting off of a tee and various strength exercise stations.

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Outfielder Sam Villa is practicing on her eye for the ball while locating and hitting beans thrown by Raiders' catcher Christina Ipatzi. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

These drills payed off almost immediately as Moorpark won both games of the first doubleheader at home against LA Harbor on Friday, April 6 by scoring 16 total points and only giving up seven during both games combined. Moorpark was unable to continue that offensive out pour during their next set of games on Saturday, April 7 where they lost both games at Southwestern.

Following this set of games, the Raiders only have six games remaining on their regular season schedule with the next three being on the road, and the final three being played at home.

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Moorpark shortstop Sierra Huerta is focusing in on the ball coming her way while batting off of the pitching machine. Photo credit: Ryan Ketcham

The Raiders star of the season so far has been their shortstop Sierra Huerta. Through 31 games this season, Huerta is in the Top 10 rankings in California for RBIs, hits, doubles, batting average and also 13th in total bases along with being ranked 14th in slugging percentage.

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