The Owls dugout reacts to the walk-off home run hit by left fielder Kalei Guillermo in the bottom of the seventh to win the game against Mt. SAC 8-7. (Dillon Cooper/Clarion)
Last season, the Owls took a trip to Mt. SAC in the first round of playoff action. The Owls were swept in a three-game series and were outscored 15-7 by the Mounties.
Today, Citrus (7-2) played host to the Mounties (11-3) in a rematch with slightly less on the line.
The Mounties came to Citrus as the No. 1 ranked team in Southern California and their play definitely displayed why they deserved that title. But it was the No. 9 ranked Citrus College that proved a bit too much for the visitors.
In the bottom of the seventh, in a tie game, sophomore right fielder Kalei Guillermo stepped up to the plate and hit a shot out of the ballpark to send the Owls and their fans into jubilation.
The game started out with Citrus committing an error to give Mt. SAC a 1-0 lead in the first inning. However, that lead was erased in the bottom of the second when Citrus, thanks to some passed balls, put up four on Mounties’ pitchers Mayra Helguera and Anissa Sanchez.
“We had a couple errors, it’s part of the game but I had to make a change,” said Mt. SAC head coach Rubilena Rojas.
Helguera went 1.1 innings and gave up four hits and two earned runs.
The game would remain 4-1 until the top of the fourth when Aubrey Horita scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-2.
Mt. SAC would tack on two more and tie the game in the fifth when shortstop Celina Felix crushed a ball over the right field fence. That bomb would give Felix nine on the year.
Citrus, however, would take the lead in the bottom of the inning when Guillermo singled, bringing in Stephanie Noriega to make the score 5-4 Owls.
The teams would match each other for two in the sixth, giving the Owls a 7-6 cushion heading into the top of the seventh.
The Mounties would tie the game with an Allegra Cisneros double to left, bringing in Sabrina Canales.
The situation was set up perfectly for Guillermo.
Guillermo went 5-26 all of last season, appearing in only 25 games. This season, she’s been featured a lot more, already taking to the box 22 times. The faith that head coach Jackie Boxley and Co. put her in her has paid off all season long.
Guillermo sent pitcher Denise Gonzales and the rest of the Mounties packing when she crushed a ball over the right field fence.
“Our team busted their butts in the weight room over the winter, they lifted more weights than they have ever lifted before and really, I think this was the product of it,” said Boxley.
Freshman Anissa Gallegos started in the circle for the Owls, going 4.2 innings while giving up six hits and three earned runs.
While this victory won’t erase the postseason woes of last season from the program, it definitely means this Owls softball team is a legit contender in not only Southern California, but also the state.
“They’re a tough team and they’re going be tough all year, so that’s just a great win for our girls,” said Boxley
Sophomore third baseman Erinn Jaramillo was apart of last season’s postseason series against the Mounties and is ecstatic they were able to get a win over them.
“It feels amazing, it’s crazy,” said Jaramillo. “The emotions are still here, it’s still pretty fresh and it feels pretty good.”