Owls advance to Super Regionals

Citrus College hosted San Bernardino Valley College in the first round of Regionals with a place at Super Regionals on the line.

The No. 4 ranked Owls (32-9) swept the No. 13 Wolverines in a pretty convincing fashion, scoring 18 runs over the two games while only allowing six, advancing to their second Super Regionals in program history.

On the back of four RBIs from third baseman Erinn Jaramillo and catcher Jessica Brown, the Owls were able to ride their bats and two complete games from freshman pitcher Anissa Gallegos to advance to the Super Regionals to take on No. 5 El Camino College.

In game one, Gallegos worked herself out of numerous jams.  She lost control of her off-speed pitches and seemed to struggle when trying to hit her spots.  Specifically in the second inning, Gallegos struggled hitting the plate when throwing the ball outside, leaving her in unfavorable counts.

SBVC was unable to capitalize, however, only bringing one run home.

“I was really nervous at first, but once I was dialed in I knew I could rely on myself and my defense to back up me,” said Gallegos.

While the Wolverines had plenty of opportunities to score more, their inability to move the runners and hit the ball out of the infield was apparent.

While Gallegos didn’t look like her normal over-powering self in game one, the Owls still were able to hold the Wolverines to one run.

All-state shortstop Lauren Melchor of the Wolverines went 0-3 in game one and left two runners on base.  Melchor hit .576 during the regular season but couldn’t come up big when her team needed her to do so.

Owls’ right fielder, Kalei Guillermo, had a big game at the plate, going 3-3 with two runs scored.

While the Owls did put the ball in play, the lackluster defense of the Wolverines shown through.

SBVC committed three errors in game one (seven errors in the series), with a few of them leading to runs.  One error led to an inside-the-park home run by Guillermo, which got the Owls rolling as they would take game one with a score of 5-1.

Game two saw the Wolverines bring out their ace in Alicia Morris. Morris (17-8) sat down 95 batters during the regular season and head coach Jerry Tivey hoped she could stop the rampant Owls offense.

That would not be the case.

SBVC started the game with much more intensity than they did in game one.  They put up four runs in the first two innings, visibly shaking the freshman Gallegos.

“I thought she was starting to get a little rattled,” said Tivey.  “She was able to regain command of her changeup and that made a huge difference.”

After the second, Gallegos seemed to lock herself back into her dominating ways by putting the Wolverines out in order for the next three innings.

“We just told her to dig in and pitch,” said head coach Jackie Boxley.  “She hasn’t been here before, so she dug deep and now her good performance will roll over to the next series.”

Morris labored, throwing 110 pitches in just under six innings, only striking out four Owls as the Owls blew up offensively in the second half of the game.

“These girls can blow up at any time,” said Boxley.  “We really believe every game we are going to blow up like that.”

The Owls were able to hit the ball wherever they wanted, showing the offensive prowess a top-10 offense in the state would have.

The Owls were able to close out game two by a score of 13-5.

“Although we were the lower seed, I thought we gave a pretty good fight,” said Tivey.  “I think it’s good for Citrus that they didn’t completely run over us, that’ll prepare them for the next round.”

Jaramillo and Brown both went 3-5 with three RBIs each and shortstop Stephanie Noriega went 4-5 with four runs.

El Camino awaits Citrus College in the first round of Super Regionals.  El Camino played Fullerton College and swept them in two games.  El Camino won game one 2-0, while winning game two 8-3.

The Warriors have won seven out of their last 10 games and come into the series against Citrus on a three-game winning streak.  The stat that pops out when you look at El Camino College is that they rank No. 1 in the state in stolen bases with 142.

The last time these two met was in 2013, when the Owls beat El Camino 11-1.

The Owls have won nine of their last 10 games and currently boast a five-game winning streak.

The Super Regionals will take place at Palomar College May 7-10 and is a double elimination format.  The winner of Citrus vs. El Camino will play the winner of No. 1 Palomar College (35-3-1) and No. 11 Cerritos College (25-7).