Moorpark Raiders baseball look to repeat as conference champions

James+Terrazas%2C+No.+3+infielder+hits+during+their+game+against+Pierce+College.+Photo+from+Apr.+26th%2C+2018+Photo+credit%3A+Darya+Abbassi
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Moorpark Raiders baseball look to repeat as conference champions

James Terrazas, No. 3 infielder hits during their game against Pierce College. Photo from Apr. 26th, 2018 Photo credit: Darya Abbassi

James Terrazas, No. 3 infielder hits during their game against Pierce College. Photo from Apr. 26th, 2018 Photo credit: Darya Abbassi

James Terrazas, No. 3 infielder hits during their game against Pierce College. Photo from Apr. 26th, 2018 Photo credit: Darya Abbassi

James Terrazas, No. 3 infielder hits during their game against Pierce College. Photo from Apr. 26th, 2018 Photo credit: Darya Abbassi

By Brandon Zamora

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The Moorpark Raiders baseball team is looking to defend their conference championship this season.

“The goal is always to win the conference championship,” head coach, Mario Porto said. “Because winning it automatically puts you in the playoffs.”

Porto is entering his 17th season as head coach of the baseball team and is looking forward to leading them back to the playoffs this season.

This year’s team is more determined than ever to hit the ground running due to their early exit from the playoffs after losing a best of three series to the El Camino Warriors.

In game one of the series, the Warriors defeated the Raiders 1-0 in a game that was a pitchers duel. Both pitchers, Andrew Nardi, from Moorpark, and Kenneth Haus, from El Camino, were phenomenal throughout the game. Only one run was scored during the whole game.

The Raiders came into game two with a chip on their shoulders. Starting pitcher Grant Nechak pitched a gem in the 6-1 victory over the Warriors. Nechak only allowed one run while striking out 13 batters.

Game three of the series was an offensive bout, contrary to the first. Both teams combined for 24 hits and 14 runs throughout the game.

Raiders led 5-1 after two innings. Then, starting in the sixth inning, the Warriors batters came to life and ended the game with eight unanswered runs. The Raiders ultimately were eliminated after the Warriors won game three 9-5.

Coming into this season, the Raiders will have to adjust to losing three quality pitchers from last season. Nardi transferred to the University of Arizona, Nechak transferred to the University of San Francisco, and John Cashman transferred to Sonoma State University.

Losing great pitchers will not be easy for the Raiders to overcome, but it is a challenge returning players Dominic Ruggiero and Michael Teobaldi are looking forward to addressing.

Both players fully expect to win another conference championship this season. It’s a goal every season for the Raiders baseball program.

This will be Ruggiero’s second season as 2B/SS for the Raiders. He is coming off a season where he batted .313 with two home runs and 22 runs batted in.

Ruggiero is hoping to have a great season. His personal goals include hitting well and minimizing striking out at the plate.

On the other hand, Teobaldi is coming off a gold glove winning season while playing Catcher. The gold glove is given to players who have exhibited superior individual fielding performances.

Teobaldi envisions making the all-conference team this upcoming season. However, he made it clear that the team’s success is very important to him and comes before all individual accolades.

“I’d like to make 1st team All-Conference but I’d much rather win a conference championship above anything else,” Teobaldi said.

The Raiders’ season began on Friday, Jan. 25 on the road at Bakersfield with a three-game series. The first two games were played in Bakersfield before switching to Moorpark on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

To keep up with the baseball team this season, their schedule can be found on the Moorpark College athletics website.

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