The Citrus College Owls swept a doubleheader against the Chaffey College Panthers on March 10 at Citrus College.
The Owls won the first game of the evening, 9-4, and the second game, 11-1.
Citrus head coach Jackie Boxley saw something different in her team in the matchup against Chaffey.
“I think this is the first time we’ve played really loose.” Boxley said. “We joke that the owls like to come at night and we love to play at night. We’ve played a really rough schedule in the last week and a half with a lot of tough teams, and so it’s good to bounce back.”
In the first game, Citrus freshman outfielder Mia Escobar put the Owls on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning, scoring from third base. However, Chaffey sophomore outfielder Joelie Whitson tied the game in the top of the second.
The Owls answered with three runs on an Escobar home run, scoring Karissa Martinez and Vanessa Garcia.
Panthers infielders Izzy Dena and Cassie Seymour scored runs in the top of the third to get within one, trailing 4-3.
The Owls would not let the Panthers get any closer as freshman infielder Molly Montell hit a home run on a full count, bringing in freshman outfielder/catcher Seanna Jimenez, enabling the Owls to go up 6-3 in the bottom of the third.
Martinez hit a single to score infielder Alyssa Roman before outfielder Valerie Ortiz hit a double, bringing in Martinez and Escobar. The Owls led 9-4 after six innings and after a scoreless seventh inning, Citrus claimed the victory.
Heading into the second game, Citrus sophomore Jade Nua and her teammates saved their best for last, beating the Panthers in five innings.
“Whenever we get out in the field we always say to each other to play like it’s your last time playing and to play your hardest, so we always have that mindset when we go on the field,” Nua said.
Citrus carried the momentum over into the second game from the beginning and caught on to Chaffey’s style of play, helping them dominate throughout the second.
The Owls loaded the bases multiple times in the bottom of the first inning. With bases loaded, Jimenez hit a single, bringing in Ortiz with the bases loaded again. Montell stepped up to the plate and was walked, bringing in Nua with bases loaded once again.
Freshman catcher Jacquelyn Preciado extended the lead with a grand slam under the lights of the field. The Owls put up six runs in the first inning.
Ortiz scored for the Owls in the bottom of the second with a wild pitch before Jocelyn Alvarado and Jacquelyn Preciado both ran across home plate.
Dena scored for the Panthers with a run in the top of the fourth, making the score 9-1 with the Owls leading. Dominguez stepped up to the plate for the first time of the night and hit her first single of the season, scoring Jade Nua and making it 10-1.
Martinez hit a ball towards center field, which was sacrificed and caught, advancing Dominguez to second and running in Alyssa Roman, being the last one to run in and score for the night.
The Owls closed out the second game in the top of the fifth inning to beat the Panthers 11-1.
Nua credited her teammates for how they performed to hold down the Panthers in scoring in the second game.
“We played good defense and made no errors,” Nua said. “That’s a big thing, the errors are what get us sometimes. We hit really good. We rallied on them in the first innings, got six runs and just kept scoring every inning. We never let up and we came together as a team to beat them.”
With nine freshmen and three sophomores, Coach Boxley believes every one of her players brings an element to the game, specifically when it comes to hitting.
“We just hit the ball really well,” Boxley said. “That’s the thing about our team, you can’t really pick one person. Our strength has always been making sure we have a strong hitting team.”
Nua contributed two runs in the second game for the Owls after being walked twice by Panthers’ freshman pitcher Marisa Mendoza. Nua currently leads the team with 22 hits, eight home runs and 27 RBIs.
“When I step onto the field, I always tell myself to play my hardest and if you mess up, you mess up,” Nua said. “There are other plays in the game that are going to happen. Why dwell on one mistake when you can do better on the next play?”
Boxley will get the team ready for their next game against Victor Valley with some possible incentives.
“We’re probably going to have some ice cream on Monday and chill out and do some team bonding,” Boxley said jokingly. “Then we’ll get after it on Tuesday and Wednesday and really focus on what we need to do. I’m halfway kidding about the ice cream.”
The Owls (10-7, 0-1) will travel to face Victor Valley College (2-10-1, 0-0) at 2:30 p.m. on March 16.