By Alexandra Ortiz
This season has been a slow start for the Riverside City College softball team, but after picking up a 12-11 win March 2 against top ranked team Santiago Canyon College (SCC), it might just be the spark they needed.
Head coach Michelle Daddona took notice of the significant win.
“I (have to) tip my hat to them (SCC), without a doubt that’s the best team we’ve faced all season,” she said. “For us to do what we did against them, (it) should show us our true potential.”
The Hawks came out swinging for the fences in the first inning taking a 4-0 lead, but it was short lived when RCC answered back with seven runs of their own, regaining the lead.
Neither team put their bats down the rest of the game, totaling five lead changes.
RCC took the lead in the bottom of the sixth-inning, stopping Santiago Canyon from doing anymore damage, and retained the win.
Tigers’ shortstop Danielle Lopez was the star of the game going home with a cycle, her first ever and the first for the RCC program as well.
“That was something! That’s one player that we went after ( a lot), because we knew she was great with the glove and bat, which showed today.” Dadonna said.
Lopez has 24 hits with 14 runs, 29 RBIs, five doubles and one triple overall.
The Tigers went on a 7-0 run after Lopez ignited the team when she doubled to center field and brought in Jordan Emanuele.
During the run, center-fielder Hunter LaCroix had a two run double in the bottom of the first that brought in Lopez and Dani Melendez.
The team then headed up north to participate in the Fresno City Tournament.
The tournament gave them an opportunity to prepare for a team that they could face later on in the season.
“We like going up there and seeing the competition it always gets us ready what to expect when we reach the postseason,” Daddona said. “Many times we get to see those teams again.”
Although the team lost on the road against Fresno and Sacramento City College, they defeated Santa Rosa, 4-1, and have since continued their winning streak defeating Fullerton College, 4-3, March 9 at home.
Tigers’ pitcher Laura Mendez has also helped jump start the team with her defense, causing 3.11 strikeouts per game for opposing offenses.
Mendez has 25 strikeouts overall and has not allowed a single triple all season.
The Tigers have now won two games in a row and look to make that three as they are scheduled to host Orange Coast College on March 11 at 2 p.m. In the last meeting against the Pirates, RCC won 7-6, scoring their last three runs in the sixth-inning.