Mt. SAC pitcher Sabrina Garcia embraces catcher Yumiko Hiroto after game two of the two-game series with Citrus College in the California Community College Athletic Association Regionals. Garcia threw 12 innings, surrendering 11 hits, six earned runs and struck out 11 batters over the series.
The Owls softball team traveled to Mt. San Antonio College on May 3 and 4 for the first round of postseason action.
Their bats, however, did not.
The Owls scored in only two innings over the two games, losing the first game 11-3 in five innings and dropping the second 4-3 in seven innings.
The No. 11 seeded Citrus College (27-15) entered the California Community College Athletic Association Regionals on a six-game winning streak, having scored 47 runs in the process.
The No. 6 seeded Mt. SAC (34-8) came into the series currently riding a three-game winning streak.
Coming into the series with the Mounties, the Owls averaged 6.5 runs a game and had a team batting average of .345. In the two-game series against the Mounties, they scored six runs and hit .217.
In the first game on May 3, defensive miscues piled on top of sleeping bats. It was a frustrating day for Citrus College as the Mounties brushed them aside quite easily.
The Owls started off the first inning with a pair of home runs. A solo shot by Sara Moore and a two-run blast by Arianna Sanchez gave Citrus a 3-0 lead.
Hope was abundant in the Citrus dugout as cheers rang throughout. The smiles were short-lived, however, as that would be the only lead the Owls would have all series.
The Mounties were able to move runners at will.
Combining speed and execution at the plate, the Mounties used small ball tactics to move runners around the basepaths and forced the Citrus defense to make decisions, which usually resulted in mistakes.
“We’ll try and use our short game and steal some bases,” said Mountie head coach Ruby Rojas. “We just tried to apply pressure to their defense.”
On top of all this, the Mounties were relentless at the plate.
Western State Conference Blue Division Pitcher of the Year Miranda Gil was rocked throughout the first game giving up 13 hits and eight earned runs.
The Owls didn’t help much offensively as Mountie pitcher Sabrina Garcia was able to hold them to just four hits for three earned runs while striking out seven.
In game two for the Owls, things didn’t get much better in terms of run production. Spanning from game one into game two, there was a point when the Owls didn’t score a run in nine consecutive innings.
In game two, it was the long ball that doomed head coach Jackie Boxley and the Owls. Gil was pegged for three home runs as the Owls lost 4-3.
The Owls trailed all game but found themselves with bases loaded and no outs in the third inning.
Raven Preseau and Erin Jaramillo popped up to second and Arianna Sanchez struck out, ending the Citrus threat.
“Our team was trying to do too much,” Moore said. “We just needed to get base hits and string them together, but everyone was trying to go yard.”
Down 4-0, the Owls couldn’t get on board until the sixth inning when Gil hit a bomb to deep center for a two-run shot. Things seemed to get better for the Owls when Megan Troutman hit a bullet to left field to bring in Alyssa Lozano making it 4-3.
The Owls would have the top of the order up in the bottom of the seventh with Moore, Preseau and Jaramillo.
In her last at-bat for Citrus, Moore ended her illustrious career with a pop-up to second base. It was an anticlimactic end to what was an exciting two seasons with the Owls in which she hit .491, 16 home runs and 82 RBIs.
Moore went 1-4 with 3 walks in the two games against Mt. SAC.
Preseau struck out and Jaramillo popped out to deep center to end the season for the Owls.
“It sucks, it sucks anytime it’s over,” Boxley said. “We should tip our hat to their pitching. Their pitcher did a good job of doing what she wanted to do.”
Garcia had her way with the Owls, tallying up 11 strikeouts and only six earned runs.
“I’ve never been in the spotlight,” Garcia said. “My team had my back, so I took the spot and owned it.”
With the loss, the Owls came up short of where they left off last year in the CCCAA Super Regionals.
“It’s sad, but I wouldn’t want to have gone out with anyone else,” Moore said. “I’m glad I got to go out with such a good group of girls.”
The #6 Mounties will go on to face #3 College of the Desert in the Super Regionals May 9 at 4 p.m. at Cypress College. COD swept their series with COC, winning the first game 9-1 and the second game 6-1.