Fastpitch gets in the groove

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By Vanessa Overbeck


By Vanessa Overbeck

Looking to improve upon their 2-8 record, the road to recovery for the Tigers began with Santa Ana College on April 4.

Riverside Community College conquered the Dons 2-1 in a defensive battle. Both teams earned the same number of hits in the same number of at bats and each left five or more runners on base. But key defensive plays by shortstop Melissa Ascencio robbed Saddleback College of this win.

The Dons’ only run scored on a passed ball in the fourth inning. But Ascencio picked up catcher Arinn Godoy on the next play. She ended this potentially damaging inning by robbing Saddleback of an infield basehit.

In the sixth inning, the Tiger shortstop again robbed the Dons of an infield basehit. Ascencio’s second sliding grab behind third base and quick, long throw to first saved the Tiger lead.

After narrowly defeating the Dons, RCC picked up an easy victory against the winless Orange Coast Community College on April 6. In this hitting fest, Tiger hitters racked up 18 runs on 13 hits, six walks and four errors. But the Tigers stepped up to the plate only 29 times; meaning nearly every hit scored a run and most hitters scored.

Now at 4-8 the Tigers faced Fullerton College on April 8. As the third seeded team, the Tigers needed to defeat the Hornets in order to take their spot at playoffs. But the Hornets were victorious against the Tigers in this 6-2 ballgame.

Pitchers Alexandra Ariaz and Shalyn Skahill only gave up six hits to the Hornets, but to this big hitting team that meant three doubles, one solo home run to second baseman Nichole Lorell and a two-run home run to Vivian Garcia.

The Tigers recovered from their loss against the Hornets and picked up another win April 20 against Golden West College. In this 12-0 ballgame RCC racked up 10 hits. Godoy had the best offensive day, hitting 3-4. Third baseman Mead, first baseman Shelley Roeder and pitcher Ariaz all batted .500. In this shutout Ariaz gave up only three hits and her defense committed no errors.

Having won three of its last four games Tiger fans on April 22 were wondering whether RCC would go to playoffs. But at best the Tigers can finish 9-9 in conference, putting them just two wins shy of playoffs. The Tigers’losses to Fullerton College knocked them out of the running. Unlike the sun that pushed its way through the rain clouds to make the day’s game against Saddleback College possible, the Tigers bloomed too late. But RCC didn’t take that dismal thought to heart. They trounced the second place Gauchos 7-2 in a dominating offensive and defensive performance.

To start off rookie third baseman Breann Mead threw to second basemen Hemsley for a double play. Later, shortstop Ascencio went to her again to end the game the way it began.

The Tigers also wasted no time in scoring. They capitalized on two errors to score two runs in the first inning.

The Tigers continued to rack up runs early in the game. In the third inning RCC earned another four runs on doubles hit by Hemsley and Ascencio.

RCC earned 12 hits against the Gauchos, while pitcher Ariaz allowed only three hits. Were it not for the Gauchos’ solid defense, the eight runners the Tigers left on base could have made this loss embarrassing, rather than surprising.

The Gauchos seemed stumped by the unpredictable but talented RCC fastpitch team. Their coach sought to upset the Tigers’ groove with lengthy pitching and catching changes in the middle of at bats, but RCC refused to be daunted either by the weather or softball strategizing. Though the Tigers have finally obtained team unity, gained focus and follow through, it came too late. But playoffs will be less exciting without this late blooming team.

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