By Travis West | Sports Editor
Before the No. 1 ranked RCC Tigers took on Ventura College in a best of three series in the first round of the regional playoffs on May 4-5, four of the team’s players received state honors.
Chelsea Ponce, Gina Grijalva and Katherine Macias all received All-State honors with the team’s standout player receiving the highest.
Natalie Barrios was named the co-state player of the year by the California Community College Fast-pitch Coaches Association.
Barrios is a downright beast. In 161 plate appearances, Barrios has accumulated 65 hits, making her second place in the state.
With all the accolades being handed out right before playoffs, some would find it very difficult to refocus on the task at hand.
Despite the individual awards given out, the players know what the ultimate goal is.
“Our ultimate goal is (to win) state and the only way we can do that is together,” Ponce said. “We will need every piece of the puzzle.”
Because of the team’s 38-3 overall season record, the Tigers established home field advantage throughout the super-regional playoffs after sweeping Ventura
in the first round of playoff action on May 4.
In the first game against the Pirates, Barrios and Macias proved why they received the honors they did as both contributed with solo shot home runs in the 8-2 victory.
The Pirates were unable to overcome the Tigers stellar pitching.
Ponce only allowed three hits in seven innings and has been the anchor for the Tigers all season.
With game one for the Tigers in the books they immediately had shift their focus to game two of the series.
Even though the Pirates seemed overwhelmed by the Tigers in game one, they would not leave without a fight.
In game two, RCC struggled to get its bats going. Ventura was able to steal the lead from the Tigers with a solo home run in the bottom of the third.
The team must have felt a sense of urgency because in the top of the fourth two of the Tigers responded in a huge way.
Chelsea Brown and Macias homered to put the Tigers up 2-1.
The door was slammed shut from that point on as the Tigers put away the Pirates 2-1 and with
that, moved on to the next round against Citrus College in the super regionals.
The Tigers will play host throughout the regional playoffs.
The first game of the next three game series will take place on May 10 when the Tigers play Citrus.