Celebrating softball

Owls gather at the plate to welcome Bre Lockett (#16) after her home run against RCC at the Super Regionals May 10. (Javier Galaviz / Citrus College Clarion)

Owls gather at the plate to welcome Bre Lockett (#16) after her home run against RCC at the Super Regionals May 10. (Javier Galaviz / Citrus College Clarion)

This year at the softball field on the south end of campus, tucked away between the tennis courts and the golf range, Citrus history was being made.

We’d like to applaud the Owls softball team for their sweep of the Cypress Chargers to give the Citrus women their first trip to the California Community College Athletic Association Super Regionals in Citrus history.

The end of the semester is usually a sad time for our Clarion sportswriters around this time of year, as the last whistles have blown and the last outs have been called weeks before.

This year, it was different. After three consecutive first round exits—to Fullerton in 2010, to Cypress in 2011 and to Riverside Community College in 2012—the Owls finally got the proverbial monkey off their backs.

In the Super Regionals, the Owls fell once again in a 2-4 loss to the RCC Tigers, only to be eliminated the next day in a 3-4, extra innings loss to the Santiago Canyon College Hawks.

They might be hanging their heads after reading that. They have every reason to keep them held up high.

Head coach Jackie Boxley and assistant coaches Ed Andersen and Terry Paredez are to be commended after compiling a 98-64 record over the past four seasons. More importantly, the coaching staff has made improvements and adjustments along the way, attributes that some coaches of billion-dollar franchises can’t claim.

After falling in the first round to a dangerous, yet beatable Riverside team last year (the team took a 1-0 lead in a best-of-three series), Boxley was able to put together an even more successful roster in 2013, despite losing some key players to academic ineligibility or injury.

But the players who stuck with the program are just as important as their coach.

So congratulations to Angela Aguinaga and Bre Lockett, who became the first All-Americans in Citrus history.

Congratulations to Kawehi Ephan, whose 20 home runs on the season broke Aguinaga’s program record, a mark that was good enough for second in the state.

Congratulations to Shyann Ramirez and Carissa Bender, who were able to contribute to the team this year despite nagging injuries and reduced roles. Congratulations to the other returning sophomores–Katherine Cunningham, Jessica Gonzales, Rebecca Ireland and Veronica Ramirez–for helping to wash away the bad taste of that 2012 first-round collapse and replace it with a historic Super Regional bid and a sweep of one of the best teams in the state.

And congratulations to the new leaders of the Owls—Arianna Sanchez, Victoria Baltazar, Sara Moore, Andrea “Cookie” Perez, Raeleen Tellez, Emily Orozco and Alyssa Lozano—for giving us even bigger and better things to anticipate for next year.

On behalf of the Clarion staff, it’s been a pleasure covering the team over the years. Thank you for the memories, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds.

We can’t wait to write about it.