Moorpark College Raiders defeat Ventura College Pirates 3-2 in a last-minute rally


Moorpark College’s freshman outfielder Spencer Perry sizes up a pitch from Ventura College’s Max Flame in the first game of a doubleheader on April 15. Moorpark won the game 3-2 after a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth. Photo credit: Danny Stipanovich

By Brooklyn Stalo

It was an optimistic day on the Moorpark College baseball field with the Moorpark College Raiders challenging the Ventura College Pirates on Thursday afternoon. The Raiders pulled through to get an exceptional come-back win.

As the game headed into the bottom of the ninth tied 2-2, Raider infielder Alex Vega hit a walk-off single to right field with the bases loaded, letting freshman pitcher Dylan Swanson score and give the Raiders the victory 3-2. The first game of the doubleheader ended with a dogpile that was exhilarating for both the limited fans and the players.

“Up to bat, it felt super good. hitting in that part of our field, the wind is always crazy. I hit the ball and it felt good. I just needed to hit that ball and I knew I could get a run in. It was a super good feeling and the dog pile was super super fun,” said Vega.

At the start of the game the Pirates came out strong, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning.

Moorpark’s shortstop freshman, Shane Grieger, made three beautiful ground ball throws to first in the top of the second. “My biggest success was helping my team out by making plays for them and getting the job done,” said Grieger. That is exactly what he did, finishing with two singles, a double and a walk.

In the top of the third, the Raiders played an amazing defense with freshman pitcher, Garrett Yawn, throwing aggressively to the Pirates.

“Establishing a pitch I could really go to, it would make things easier for me. They were a really good hitting team, so just staying focused. Every pitch the pressure was on, which meant the intensity was up. As a team we did not give up,” stated Yawn.

Freshman pitcher Garret Yawn winds up in his first start for the Moorpark Raiders against the Ventura Pirates on April 15. Yawn finished with two earned runs in four innings of play.
Freshman pitcher Garrett Yawn winds up in his first start for the Moorpark Raiders against the Ventura Pirates on April 15. Yawn went four innings surrendering two earned runs. Photo credit: Danny Stipanovich

In the top of the fifth, freshman pitcher, Trevor Sieger, stepped up to the mound and threw astonishing pitches. Sieger threw another great pitch with the batter hitting it back to him, he fumbled the ball but fortunately got the batter out at first.

The Raiders were finally up to bat and the ball game just started to get exhilarating. Outfielder freshman, Spencer Perry, got walked and as outfielder freshman, Nate Martinez, struck out, Perry stole second from an overthrow to first and almost made it to third.

As things started heating up, freshman outfielder Dylan Leek, hit a single to score Perry then stole second base from a foul hit made by Packard. Grieger hit an astounding ball in between shortstop and center field and as Leek tried to steal home, the Pirates center fielder made a perplexing throw from the outfield to the catcher getting Leek out.

In the sixth inning, the Raider’s defense came back to play when Swanson ran exceedingly fast to catch a ball behind Sieger.

The Raiders were quickly back up to bat and infielder freshman Albert Prado, bunted to safely make it to first and send Vega to second base. Freshman outfielder Daniel Jagard bunted again, and as the pitcher threw to third, Vega made a sensational slide into third with the umpire calling it safe.

Things then began get intense, bases were loaded and Perry was back up to bat. He hit a ground ball to first and the Pirates forced an out at home, making the Raiders unable to score. With Ventura up by one, Moorpark did not give up. Prado stepped up to bat and hit to center that allowed Moorpark to score bringing the score to a tie.

Moorpark's sophomore infielder Alex Vega poses for a picture after his game-winning RBI single to right field versus Ventura College on April 15. Vega finished the day with two hits, an RBI and a walk.
Moorpark’s sophomore infielder Alex Vega poses for a picture after his game-winning RBI single to right field versus Ventura College on April 15. Vega finished the day with two hits, an RBI and a walk. Photo credit: Danny Stipanovich

Moorpark’s defense kept Ventura from scoring the rest of the game. Sieger took the Raiders through four scoreless innings until freshman Rocco Aremeni relieved him in the ninth. Vega’s walk-off single gave Aremeni the win in the scorebook.

Moorpark freshman pitcher Colin Mitchell spoke about the pressures of being a pitcher during a high stress situation.

“As a pitcher, my biggest success was being able to go out in a stressful situation and being able to get us out of it. I was focused on making sure the batter didn’t hit anything hard and the runners didn’t steal. I also wanted to go out there and show what I can do,” said Mitchell.

Raiders Head Coach Mario Porto is extremely happy with his team.

“With everything going on right now, and us being behind, the guys have dealt with it and got through it. No complaining, no boohooing, real good with it. They’re all 18-20 something-year-olds, they’re kids. My wife says, ‘When you put your baseball uniform on you’re a 66-year-old kid’ I love that because when you’re in that uniform, you feel like a kid, a big serious eager to win kid.”

Moorpark College Raiders will play an away game on April 22 at 3 p.m. with another doubleheader against Bakersfield.

*Editors note: Please note edits have been made correcting the spelling of Garrett Yawn, correcting the pitcher from Colin Mitchell to Trevor Sieger and correcting the spelling of Shane Grieger. We apologize for these errors.