Cuesta College spoils Moorpark Softball’s doubleheader season opener with 10-8 victory over the Raiders

Moorpark+Pitcher+Seren+Horton+throws+a+pitch+during+a+home+game+against+Cuesta+College+on+Thursday%2C+April+22%2C+2021+at+Moorpark%2C+CA.+Photo+credit%3A+Ryan+Bough

Moorpark Pitcher Seren Horton throws a pitch during a home game against Cuesta College on Thursday, April 22, 2021 at Moorpark, CA. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

By Dominic D'Amico

Thursday afternoon, under a sea of steel grey clouds, the Moorpark College Raiders Softball team took to their home field to face off against the Cuesta College Cougars in a double-header. After a narrow 12-10 loss in the first match, the Raiders sought to even the record going into game two.

However, despite a strong showing, a number of wild pitches and a devastating sixth inning let Cuesta seize and hold a close lead, leading to a second narrow Raiders loss.

Going into game two, the Raiders and the Cougars kept each other scoreless through the first inning. But in the second inning, a quick two singles from Cuesta put runners on first and second, before a series of off-mark pitches from Moorpark led to two walks and a passed ball, which notched Cuesta the first two points of the game. A hit from Cuesta notched them a third point, but the next batter was thrown out, switching the sides.

The Raiders responded promptly, with a single and a double, courtesy of Raiders’ Tori Villegas and Emily Sutherland, respectively, placing the pair in scoring positions. Then a single from Monica Munoz brought both runners home, notching two runs for Moorpark before a flyout ended the inning with the score at 3-2 Cuesta.

Rachel Hurtado (Moorpark)
Moorpark Raider Rachel Hurtado guards third base as a Cuesta College runner dashes past during the home game at Moorpark College on Thursday, April 22, 2021. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

After a competitive third inning ended scoreless, Cuesta notched a single point in the top of the fourth, helped by a walk, a wild pitch and a passed ball from Moorpark. But in the bottom of the fourth, a series of hits from Moorpark tied the game at 4-4, where the score remained as the inning ended.

Moorpark used the fifth inning to build on its progress, with solid pitching and fielding holding Cuesta scoreless in the top. In the bottom though, a series of hits landed Raiders’ Delanee Upchurch and Rachel Hurtado on first and second base, respectively, before a pair of passed balls from Cuesta sent Upchurch home and Hurtado to third, gifting the Raiders a 5-4 lead.

Then, with Hurtado on third base, Alahna Long stepped up to bat for the Raiders and with a resounding crack, sent the pitch flying over the back wall for a massive home run, notching two more points for the Raiders and extending the lead to 7-4.

Alanha Long and Coach John Barry
Moorpark Head Coach John Barry taps Moorpark Raider Alahna Long's helmet in celebration as she runs to home plate after hitting a home run during the softball game against Cuesta College on Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Moorpark, CA. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

Despite their three-point lead, the sixth inning was devastating for the Raiders. In the top of the sixth, a pair of walks placed Cuesta runners on first and second before a trio of singles and a pair of doubles cycled six runners around the diamond, obliterating the Raider lead and setting Cuesta ahead 10-7. The Raiders managed a single run in the bottom of the sixth, but both teams kept each other scoreless in the seventh inning, leaving the game to end 10-8 Cuesta.

After the game, Raiders Softball Head Coach John Barry expressed great pride in his team’s performance.

“It’s really exciting to come out against a really good team and play the way we played… and I couldn’t be more proud of these kids,” stated Barry.

Barry also noted pitching as an area to improve on, remarking, “We gotta do a little better job hitting our spots in pitching, if we make a couple mistakes, good hitters take advantage of that.”

Background girl: Monica Muñoz throwing the ball: madison westerhouse
Moorpark Pitcher Madison Westerhouse winds up a pitch as Monica Muñoz prepares for a hit during the home game at Moorpark College against Cuesta College on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

Sophomore Pitcher Madison Westerhouse agreed with Barry’s assessment as well, stating, “The more that we hit our spots, then that way, it makes it easier for the infielder or outfielder to make their plays.”

Looking ahead though, Westerhouse is excited to pick up where their last season left off when the Raiders face off with Oxnard College later this season.

“I’m looking forward to play Oxnard, because last year, that was our last game that we got to play and we didn’t get to finish the game because it got rained out. Then, COVID happened, so I’m ready to see them back on the field,” said Westerhouse.

Freshman Outfielder/Shortstop Alahna Long echoed Westerhouse’s anticipation, confidently stating “Like Maddi (Madison Westerhouse) said, Oxnard. I’m ready for them.”

Moorpark Raiders Softball will take the field next on Monday, April 26, for an away double-header against Mount San Antonio College.