Defense struggles as bats fall silent

By Cameron Wisdom | Staff Writer

Sara Moore stared down the first pitch of the game for a called first strike, she crushed the next pitch over the centerfield wall for a leadoff home-run.

Shortly thereafter, Arianna Sanchez belted a two run homer over the leftfield wall to give Citrus College a 3-0 lead over Mt. San Antonio College in the top of the first inning.

The Owls seemed to have Mounties pitcher Sabrina Garcia rattled during the inning and looked poised to have a field day on offense.

After allowing one run in the bottom of the first inning due to a wild pitch and miscues on defense, Citrus was never able to recover their game-opening momentum.

Their bats fell silent from the second inning on and the defensive errors seemed to pile-on as the game quickly got out of hand.

Owls pitcher Miranda Gil, coming into the series nominated as the All-WSC Blue Division pitcher of the year, appeared to be in regular form for the first two innings by allowing only one Mounties batter to touch home.

At the bottom of the third inning, the Mounties began to make adjustments at the plate in order to take advantage of the late break of Gil’s pitches.

“We started the game off in the back of the box, and her ball was breaking a little bit later,” said Mounties assistant coach Crystl Bustos. “So we moved the girls towards the front of the batters box so we could hit the ball while its trajectory was a little more flat.”

The adjustments paid off almost immediately as the Mounties posted three runs in the third, two more in the fourth, and a deciding five runs in the bottom of the fifth. The Mounties batters forced Owls infielders to play in towards home-plate with a series of strategically timed bunts, and then took advantage of Citrus’ defensive adjustment with an aggressive approach on the base paths.

Along the way, the Owls only managed two more hits and totaled seven strikeouts in 20 at-bats.

The defense did not fare much better; making a litany of mistakes that allowed Mounties baserunners to advance and eventually score. The official score credited the Owls with one error, but there were several instances where poor fielding decisions made opportunities for Mt. SAC to capitalize.

“We just got in our own heads tonight,” said Moore. “We had it there in the first inning but after that we just kinda let it go.”

Coach Jackie Boxley spoke on the team’s struggles and looked to the next game with optimism.

“Probably everything we did today we just did a little lackadaisical,” said Boxley. “We just have to try to do everything a little better tomorrow and hopefully we can force a game 3.”

The final score with two outs in the bottom of the fifth was 11-3 favoring Mt. SAC.