By Javier Cabrera
By Javier Cabrera
Riverside City College’s fastpitch team did what every other team could not do before them: make it to the state finals.
What a magical and special season for coach Michelle Daddona-Moya and her team.
She couldn’t be more proud of them and excited for the next season to start.
With a heavy atmosphere full of scouts and the best of the best, the Tigers had their work cut out for them with all the pressure to go out and try to make something happen.
Despite losing their opener to the No. 1 ranked team in California, the Tigers had hope still when they fell into the second bracket for the second half of the double elimination tournament.
Losing to Siskiyous 10-2 did not leave RCC with their heads down.
It let them still compete and be happy they were given the opportunity to play in the state finals.
As they had another chance to play for a championship, they went up against Cerritos, a team that they knew well, as they beat them in regular season play.
A leadoff home run by the Tigers’ all-star Jackie Serna, who was named to the All-CCCAA Tournament Team, gave them their only lead of the tournament.
With a rally back from late in the game by the Tigers, Cerritos regained control of the game and eliminated the Tigers from the tournament in a 10-4 victory.
Coach Daddona-Moya said her team’s success came from their strong pitching, but with all the scouts and the pressure from being on the big stage, her pitchers really didn’t give themselves a chance to win the game.
“They will always be the first team to accomplish that and that’s something no one can ever take from us, I am not sure how many teams get to the finals and win it in their first year getting there,” she said.
“I think just the huge fact that we were there and that is a huge stepping stone for us, the girls know what it is like, they have a taste of it and they are going to want to be back there again,” she said.
The outcome of the tournament came to be a shocker as Mt. Sac won the championship in the final match against Sierra.
Mt. Sac blew past No. 2 Sac City in the opening round and squeezing past No. 1 ranked Southern California team Cypress.
The No. 1 ranked team Siskiyous was beat by Mt. Sac in a 4-3 victory, and then came up short to Sierra in the elimination game.
“Usually when it gets to the elite eight, it’s not really the talent, it boils down to that mental toughness,” Daddona-Moya said.
A couple of solid players have committed to next year’s team.
“Obviously you never know until the first day of school that they are here but they said they are coming and that they signed up so hopefully you can count on them,” Daddoya-Moya said.
They will be losing their pitcher, starting short-stop and two outfielders, but they do have some experience coming back and the coach believes that it can be key for them as they have some key players that can give huge impacts right away.
“It was a tremendous season with finishing with the best winning percentage, we defiantly got to the finals, something that we never got to before,” she said.
“What I think makes RCC unique is that I really do believe that it is the young ladies work ethic and sacrifice that they put in that has got us there,” she said.
With final thoughts on this season, coach Daddona-Moya said that these girls are the real winners for their effortsthroughout their season.
“We didn’t have all the individual awards, but what we did have was team work, we knew it would take everyone to win and we did, we sacrificed, we had to be able to accomplish what we need to achieve as a team and no matter what it was we knew what our goal was and whatever it was to put aside to accomplish that goal. I think this group did that,” she said.
Daddona-Moya said that the team had so much support, recieving letters from past players congratulating them on their success and she believes they have built a great program.
They thank the people from the community for all their support throughout the season.