Moorpark Softball bounces back against Bakersfield College in doubleheader sweep at home

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Danny Stipanovich

Shortstop Alahna Long beats the runner to first off a ground ball during Moorpark’s home game versus the Bakersfield Renegade on May 8, 2021. Photo credit: Danny Stipanovich

By Leonard Cardilino

Moorpark College Raiders Softball played a doubleheader versus the Bakersfield College Renegades at home on Saturday. The Raiders were coming off of a four-game losing streak heading into the day.

The Raiders broke their losing streak in a slim 8-7 victory on the day’s first match. Moorpark wasn’t satisfied as they looked to flip the switch into a winning streak.

Sophomore catcher Victoria Villegas acknowledged the determination and fight of the team.

“When we went over to Bakersfield, some drama happened there with the field,” Villegas said. “We ended up losing that game and we wanted it back. We played with our heart and put everything out on the field.”

Freshman Madison Westerhouse, sophomore Deanna Villa and freshman Seren Horton were the Moorpark pitchers in the outing.

The Raiders jumped out to a commanding 4-0 lead in the first inning of the second game.

They had a missed opportunity with the bases loaded to close the first. But, that didn’t deter the Raiders as they added two more runs to their lead in the second inning.

The drama involving the Renegades continued in the second game when the umpire gave a warning to Bakersfield’s head coach and an assistant coach. Immediately after the altercation, the stadium played “Why Can’t We Be Friends” by War in a timely fashion.

First baseman Ylse Prieto makes contact with a pitch during Moorpark's second home game of a doubleheader versus Bakersfield College on Saturday, May 8, 2021.
First baseman Ylse Prieto makes contact with a pitch during Moorpark’s second home game of a doubleheader versus Bakersfield College on Saturday, May 8, 2021. Photo credit: Danny Stipanovich

It did appear to fire up the Renegades to back their coaching staff. They scored two runs the next inning and took freshman starting pitcher Madison Westerhouse off of the mound.

Westerhouse set the tone for the Raiders by pitching two scoreless innings to start.

Freshman outfielder Iman Hibbler had an impressive performance in the bottom of the third. She accumulated a successful bunt, two stolen bases and a run scored within the sequence.

The Renegades tripled their total score in the fourth inning with four more runs. Bakersfield battled to be right back in the game, trailing 7-6.

Freshman pitcher Seren Horton came onto the mound during the fifth inning in hopes to complete the doubleheader sweep. She dominated the rest of the game, allowing zero runs all the way through the final inning.

It was a pitching clinic for the final three innings from both sides. Neither team nudged, resulting in a 7-6 Raider win.

The Raiders closed out both games by single-score margins. Although the two games were high-scoring, the pitching proved to be key.

Freshman pitcher Madison Westerhouse throws a pitch during Moorpark College's home game against Bakersfield College on May 8, 2021.
Freshman pitcher Madison Westerhouse throws a pitch during Moorpark College’s home game against Bakersfield College on May 8, 2021. Photo credit: Danny Stipanovich

Horton spoke on the hunger of the team after her standout performance.

“I think we showed a lot of heart and we worked extremely hard,” Horton said. “We wanted that win, both of them more than anything.”

Unity seemed to be the common theme of the doubleheader from Saturday. The Raiders stuck together through distractions and momentum shifts.

The biggest distraction from the second game was when a Bakersfield coach kept jawing at a Moorpark player on the field. The home crowd had the Raider player’s back by letting the Renegade coach hear it from them.

The different altercations did take away from the play of the game because of the stoppages. The Raiders weren’t phased by it because they kept their focus on winning.

Despite some of the struggles that have come with the pandemic, the team hasn’t lost sight of their drive to be victorious. The support from family, teammates and coaches has helped keep the Raiders on track.

Head Coach John Barry takes pride in how the team has responded to the challenges of this season.

“We have had some adversity naturally with COVID and protocol,” Barry said. “This team has been so resilient throughout the whole year. I can’t be more proud of them.”

The Raiders look to rise in the standings through their resiliency.

After their recent two-game winning streak, the Moorpark Raiders now have a record of 4-10 on the season. They are 3-5 at home and look to improve their 1-5 road record soon.

The Raiders’ next game is on the road against Oxnard College on May 13 at 1 p.m. They come back home to play the Condors again on May 15 at 12 p.m.