Raiders Softball throws the heat in their first home game of the season


Freshman pitcher Ashley Wernli launches a ball to the catcher on Tuesday, Feb. 18, during the Raider’s home game against Victor Valley College. Wernli pitched the whole game for the Raiders. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Leslie Mendez

With an overall record of 6-5, Moorpark Softball came on top with a 5-0 win against Victor Valley College on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at Moorpark College.

After two scoreless innings to start, sophomore shortstop Rachel Hurtado stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the third to single. Thanks to freshman second baseman Delanee Upchurch’s sacrifice bunt, runners freshman outfielder Bethany Yzaguirre and Hurtado advanced a base. Due to the catcher’s error, Hurtado advanced to home, putting the Raiders on the board 1-0.

Sophomore Rachel Hurtado runs home, putting the Raiders on the score board, during their home game against Victor Valley College on Tuesday, Feb. 18. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

The game went scoreless for the next three innings. The Raiders put players on base but were unable to bring them home. Head Coach Ginny Mitchell described what aspects of the game the team could improve on.

“We just need to swing harder, we’re not as aggressive as we could be at the plate,” Mitchell explained.

Momentum picked back up in the bottom of the sixth with batters ready to score. Freshman third baseman Alexis DeYoung hit a two-run RBI double to drive in sophomore catcher Victoria Villegas and freshman designated player Ylse Prieto.

Freshman Delanee Upchurch makes contact with the ball during Moorpark's home game on Tuesday, Feb. 18, against Victor Valley College. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Freshman centerfielder Mikayla Gay joined the fun by hitting an RBI double, putting the Raiders at 4-0. Next up, Iman Hibbler hit a single and the Raiders scored an unearned run with the aid of an error from the Rams defense. The Raiders increased their lead to 5-0.

Mitchell was extremely proud of the team’s performance at their home opener.

“We’ve been on the road a lot, we’ve played a lot of away games. So we’re very happy and anxious to be home to get the support of our fans and the comfort of our own field,” Mitchell said.

The Moorpark softball team conducts their group prayer before the home game against Victor Valley College on Tuesday, Feb. 18. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

The Moorpark Softball team is constantly working towards improvements to their game and learning from the season prior.

“Our batters have had more patience in the batter’s box,” Mitchell explained. “We’re swinging at better pitches and not swinging at bad pitches, and that makes a big difference in the score.”

The Raiders offense came in strong late in the game as they supported freshman pitcher Ashley Wernli by providing a five-run cushion at the bottom of the sixth inning.

“I’ve always had faith in her, she throws hard and hits her spots,” Hurtado spoke about her teammate’s performance. “She’s a phenomenal pitcher, it’s rare to see her not doing well.”

Ashley Wernli throws a fast pitch to Catcher Tori Villegas in the third inning during the game at Moorpark College on Tuesday, Feb. 18, against the Victor Valley Rams. Photo credit: Scott Mazzarano

Wernli came on to the mound confident, resulting in a shutout game. “There’s always going to be nerves, but I’ve been playing my whole life,” Wernli expressed.

Going seven innings with 12 strikeouts and only giving up two hits, Wernli left no room for Victor Valley to get on the board.

“I just went out there and played for my mom that’s up there,” Wernli said. “Every time I come out, I play just like it’s my last game.”

Catch Raiders Softball next home game on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 10 a.m. up against Ohlone College.