By Javier Cabrera / Sports editor
By Javier Cabrera / Sports editor
The Riverside City College fastpitch team stepped one game closer to the playoffs with a 5-1 victory against the Citrus City College Owls on April 2.
The Riverside Tigers went into the non-conference game against Citrus College looking to get back on track, after snapping a 20 game losing streak against Cypress College and then losing 12-2 against Saddleback College.
The game started with the two teams finishing the first four and a half innings tied at zero, but it picked up in the bottom of the fourth with Citrus College sliding into home plate for the first run of the game.
After falling behind 1-0, Riverside’s Stephanie Szweb, tied the game with a solo home run in the fifth inning.
After her home run, Szweb was in the dugout telling teammates that she thought the ball was going to stay in the park.
The home run would turn out to be the turning point of the game for Riverside.
The team finished the inning by taking another run off of a Citrus’ error and led 2-1.
Citrus College made five errors in the game, with all of them being forced by Riverside’s hustle plays.
The scoring continued for the Tigers in the sixth inning after two runs were scored off of Audriana Gutierrez’s single, giving the team a 4-1 lead.
The team scored another run off of another bad throw by Citrus that resulted in another error for them.
Starting pitcher for Riverside, Reylene Cornado, completed the game for the Tigers and gave up one run on three hits, and had three strikeouts and three walks.
“She threw very well today,” said coach Michelle Daddona about Cornado’s performance. “She just needs to trust her stuff, and with making the adjustment she is just as effective or if not more effective.”
Cornado has been struggling with staying in innings because of the illegal pitches that have been called on her.
These costly illegal pitches result in unnecessary runs given up to the opposing teams and runs that Riverside cannot give up.
“Lately (the umpires) have been harping on her for the illegal pitches,” Daddona said, “She is doing a good job to make adjustment … because we are going to need both our pitchers in the playoffs.”
Prior to the game against Citrus, Riverside made some noise in the Orange Empire Conference after the team defeated the No. 1 team in the conference, Cypress College, 7-3.
Coach Michelle Daddona said it was the just the second time the team has won a game against Cypress since she has been coaching.
With the win against Cypress, RCC is now 14-70 all-time against them.
With no time to celebrate the big accomplishment against Cypress, the team had a chance to move into second place in the conference when it hosted Saddleback College the next day.
Saddleback College did not waste any time with the Tigers after it knocked in 10 runs in the first inning and ending the game in five innings to defeat Riverside 12-2 on March 31.
“We just had a let down on the (Saddleback game), we came from a night game with all the hype to a day game and we were just flat,” Daddona said, “(Saddleback) definitely capitalized on it.”
The playoffs are rapidly approaching for the team, with the only chance of making the postseason as a wild card.
“We are definitely in the top spot for a wild card, Daddona said, “We are looking okay.”
Daddona said the team has enough space to spare and still clinch a wild card spot if the team loses any games left on the schedule.
“All of us are taking it one game at a time,” Cornado said, “We know one game is going to help and we can’t really focus on the next game until it comes.”
The team has two home games and four road games left in the season, with four of them being conference games.
The final conference games are against lower ranked teams who are looking to be spoilers and ruin some team’s hopes.
“As a team, I’m not to worried about any team,” Cornado said. “As long as we play our game, we can’t be beat.