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Raiders baseball look ahead after disappointing 2019 season

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Raiders baseball look ahead after disappointing 2019 season

The Moorpark Raiders lose to Santa Barbara on Thursday, April 25, 2019 in Moorpark, CA. This was the last game of the year for the Raiders. Photographer, David

The Moorpark Raiders lose to Santa Barbara on Thursday, April 25, 2019 in Moorpark, CA. This was the last game of the year for the Raiders. Photographer, David

The Moorpark Raiders lose to Santa Barbara on Thursday, April 25, 2019 in Moorpark, CA. This was the last game of the year for the Raiders. Photographer, David

The Moorpark Raiders lose to Santa Barbara on Thursday, April 25, 2019 in Moorpark, CA. This was the last game of the year for the Raiders. Photographer, David

By Brandon Zamora

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Moorpark Raiders’ baseball season for 2019 began with hopes of becoming conference champions once again. However, even after the Raiders’ attempts to be the best, they did not finish as expected, finishing fifth place in the Western State North Conference.

It’s been over a week since the curtain fell for the baseball season. As time has passed, Moorpark baseball fans can only wonder why the team failed to achieve their goals. The Raiders finished the season 16-23 (7-13 in Western State North Conference). This end result was not expected by anyone on the baseball team.

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

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The Raiders could only look on as the Vaqueros won the game Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Moorpark, CA. Photo credit: David Dewing

Unfortunately, that wasn’t achieved. The team finished fifth out of six teams in their respective conference while not qualifying for playoffs.

The team was never able to gain consistency throughout the season. The Raiders were only able to go on three different winning streaks. One streak reached four games and two others were three-game streaks.

The team’s leading pitcher, redshirt freshman Caden Gustafson finished the season with a 6-5 record after pitching 75.2 innings. Gustafson also pitched two complete games for the 2019 season.

Gustafson struck out 58 batters and walked 20 in the process. His final ERA stands at 4.04.

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Freshman Caden Gustafson focusing on getting the batter out during Moorpark’s home game against LA Pierce College on Feb. 19, 2019. Photo credit: Alec Kamburov

Sophomore SS Dominic Ruggiero led the way for the Raiders on the offensive side as he finished the season with a .345 batting average. However, an injury limited Ruggiero to only 22 games.

“I wish I was more healthy this year,” Ruggiero said. “I wish I played more cause I played half of the season [due to injury].”

In those 22 games, Ruggiero hit a home run, drove in 14 runs and scored 15. The sophomore also had an on-base percentage of .409 and a slugging percentage of .452.

Another player whose season was cut short was sophomore infielder James Terrazas who missed the final four games due to injury. However, that did not take away from the productive season he enjoyed in 2019.

Terrazas ended strong with a .288 batting average, which was the second highest for any Raider. The sophomore infielder also racked up three home runs, 20 RBIs and 13 runs in his 2019 campaign.

Sophomore OF Jayce Foster led the way in the home runs category for the Raiders. Foster ended the season hitting four home runs. The sophomore OF also accumulated 15 RBIs and 17 runs while stealing a base eight times.

“I wish I was a little more aggressive at the plate but other than that I left it all out there [on the field],” Foster said. “I’m hurting right now and I couldn’t have asked for anything better [this season].”

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Sophomore LF Jayce Foster (left) getting ready to swing at a pitch during Moorpark’s home game against LA Pierce College on Feb. 19, 2019. Photo credit: Alec Kamburov

With these sophomores departing, the returning freshman will have to step up and take over next season.

Two of the most productive freshmen were outfielder Zach Nissim and infielder Alex Vega.

Nissim possessed the third highest batting average on the team (.269). The freshman OF displayed a lot of patience to get on base this season at the plate as he tallied up 30 walks. Nissim drove in 9 runs while scoring 25 himself.

Nissim believes the team as a unit improved in a certain area and will benefit from it going into next season.

“We progressed a lot in hitting by seeing more pitches,” Nissim said. “I think going into next season we’re gonna have a strong base.”

The fourth best batting average (.268) belonged to Vega. The freshman infielder hit two home runs and drove in eight runs while scoring eight times.

The Raiders hope to experience a much more successful year next season after an underachieving campaign in 2019.

“The major challenge is changing the attitude of we’re not a lower-tier team, we’re a better team than that,” Porto said. “We gotta instill that early on and have to be able to compete better.”

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About the Writer
Brandon Zamora, Staff writer
Brandon Zamora is a journalism student with a passion for sports. He knew he wanted to pursue a career involving sports in some matter since he was young. Fast forward to the present day, he is as motivated as ever to land a job as a sports broadcaster/journalist in the nearby future.
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