By Daniel Torres
By Daniel Torres
Winning 11 of their last 12 games, including their last five conference games, the ladies of RCC fastpitch are well on their way to clinching first place in the Orange Empire Conference. Only Cypress and Fullerton College stand in their way tied atop the conference.
The Tigers pulled out a tough 4-3 win March 18 against Golden West College in the eleventh inning at the Evans Sports Complex. The win improved the team’s conference record to nine wins with only two losses.
They had an early 2-0 lead after three innings, but lost it after a three run homer by Golden West in the top of the sixth.
“We got too comfortable with our lead,” said infielder Jackie Serna. Serna went two for four with a walk, reaching home plate twice.
Pitcher Felicia Mendoza said she got down on herself a little after giving up a walk and a hit in the sixth inning, ultimately leading to the home run that cost them the lead.
One bad inning shouldn’t ruin her day though. She got through the first five innings allowing zero hits and striking out three batters.
As a matter of fact, when she was pulled from the game in the sixth, she wasn’t upset, she was cheering on her fellow teammates.
That extra support was just what the team needed because in the bottom of the sixth the Tigers rallied to tie the game up at three.
The score remained even until the eleventh inning, with both teams having multiple chances to win it in between.
In the bottom of the eleventh, the Tigers had the bases loaded with zero outs on the board. Charlene Torres was up at bat but didn’t have to do much given that the Golden West reliever threw a bad pitch out of the catcher’s reach, easily allowing Rikki Scates to come home for the win.
The team kept themselves motivated with positive affirmations like:
“If we do what I know we can do, we can win,” said Serna.
Mendoza tells herself she is the best and visualizes the win before the start of each game.
One of the main reasons for the team’s success is the chemistry within the team.
Serna and Mendoza say this is one of the best teams they have ever played for, even calling themselves a family.
Other players on the team give credit to the so called “Softball Gods,” meaning when something goes their way, it is because the Softball Gods wanted it.
Mendoza gives credit for the win to the team’s defense, saying it was their greatest strength.
The defense proved to be an important factor throughout the game.
Many of the outfielders caught fly balls despite the sun shining in their eyes and blocking their view of the ball.
Several infielders are due renowned credit for their quick reactions at ground balls and hits coming at them at speeds over 50 miles per hour.
It is defensive plays like those that secured the win for the Tigers.
The team recently returned from a fastpitch tournament in Fresno where they went undefeated beating several notable teams such as East Los Angeles College, host Fresno City College, and blowing out Porterville 10-0.
Coach Michelle Daddona-Moya says her team went into the tournament with “Great focus and motivation.”
She talked about how they didn’t overlook any of their opponents and about how hard they hustled out on the field.
“We won a great game against Santiago College before the tournament. That led us into the tournament with confidence and we carried that momentum throughout,” Daddona-Moya said.
Serna and Mendoza also base the success on their coach.
“She is unbelievably caring and does anything she can for her players,” Mendoza said.
Daddona-Moya is often heard saying, “nothing but the best for my girls.”
As if caring and motivation weren’t enough, Daddona-Moya has a pretty impressive resume on her side.
With a record of 249-184-3, Daddona-Moya is the only fastpitch coach in RCC history with a winning record after only nine seasons.
What does coach Daddona-Moya think about this year’s team?
“This team definitely ranks up there with some of the best,” said Daddona-Moya.
She gives a lot of credit to her pitching rotation, saying that she is fortunate enough this year to have three dominant pitchers.
Having three great pitchers on the roster definitely gives them some ease on the offensive end. They can score only one run and still win the game due to the great pitching.
The Tigers play ten more conference games in pursuit of the title, playing Fullerton once more and Cypress twice.
All in all, with their current momentum flowing and their positive team chemistry, it is safe to say that the RCC fastpitch team is well within reach of the conference title.
Anyways, who wouldn’t be with the “Softball Gods” on their side?