Moorpark Baseball loses hard fought game in heartbreaking fashion.


Photo credit: Nathan Hafner

By Nathan Hafner

On Thursday, April 21, the Raiders took on the Pierce College Bulls. Starting for the Raiders was left-handed pitcher Dylan Swanson, while The Bulls had right-handed pitcher Jorge Romero on the bump to start the game.

The action began in the top of the third inning, with Swanson on the mound. The Bulls would muster two runs on a clutch double by second baseman Brent Swearingen. This gave the Bulls a 2-0 early lead.

In the bottom of the third inning, the Raiders looked to respond. Coming out of the Bulls bullpen, former Raider Colin Mitchell stood in their way. Raider centerfielder Michael Jester sparked some momentum with a single while being aggressive on the base paths stealing second.

Shortstop Shane Leong-Grieger would follow Jester. Leong-Grieger showed his discipline at the plate as he drew a walk. With two outs in the inning, Raiders catcher Alberto Prado would come to the plate and come up big for the Raiders with a single to tie the game 2-2.

“Right now for myself, I am seeing the ball really well,” said Leong-Grieger. “And then on the bases, I know how crucial these runs are and then you know whenever the ball is in play when I am on second, my main goal is to score.”

Swanson exited the game early, throwing three innings while allowing two earned runs.

Next in line and the last pitcher of the game for the Raiders was hard-throwing RHP Cody Carson. In his first two innings of work, he retired the Bulls lineup in order. In the sixth inning, Carson struggled but limited the damage allowing the bulls to tie up the game 3-3 on a wild pitch.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Raider’s offense came alive once again. Shortstop Leong-Grieger came up to the plate and led off the inning with a double. A two-out rally was in store for the Raiders. Nate Martinez came up big and gave the Raiders a 3-2 lead with a clutch RBI single.

In the 7th inning, the Bulls would take back the lead as an RBI single by Bulls’ shortstop Ivan Castillo made the game 4-3. The Bulls’ lead would be short-lived.

Alberto Prado led off the inning at the bottom of the eighth inning by drawing a walk which led to Head coach Mario Porto going to his bench to have Paden Riley pinch-hit. Riley replaced designated hitter Marcus Padilla.

Riley was looking for something he could drive. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Riley drove a base hit into right field, allowing the raiders to tie the game 4-4 in the eighth.

Heading to the ninth, Carson returned to the mound looking to keep the game tied and give his team a chance. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Bulls took the lead 5-4 on a passed ball.

Pierce infielder Ryan Barry scores on a wild pitch in the 9th inning vs the Raiders on April 21, 2022, at Moorpark College.
Pierce infielder Ryan Barry scores on a wild pitch in the 9th inning vs the Raiders on April 21, 2022, at Moorpark College. Photo credit: Nathan Hafner

In the bottom of the ninth, Mitchell retired the raiders in order with the game on the line. This capped off a win and strong pitching performance, earning his third win of the year tossing seven innings pitched while allowing four runs.

This game also marked an emotional and bittersweet return for Mitchell. He spent last season with the Raiders and was recovering from an injury. Following the game, Mitchell spoke about his return and performance.

“It’s great to just see those guys compete and compete against them,” said Mitchell. “Honestly like it’s I love all of them, and so it’s just it’s fun to compete with your friends and like people you’ve been growing up with so I had a lot of fun like it’s just it’s fun coming back to the place you all started you know in the JUCO.”

As for Carson, this would be his third loss of the season, going six strong innings pitched while allowing two hits, two walks and striking out four batters.

After the game, Porto talked about his team’s performance and struggles with capitalizing in crucial situations.

“We did not deserve to win,” said Porto. “You know this is like the fifth time in the row, the fifth game we’ve outhit the other team and lost, so you know we are really good with no one on base, when we have people on base we don’t hit very well.”

The loss to Pierce brought the Raider’s season record to 13-22. The Raiders would continue their streaky season by winning their next three games and losing their last two games. The Raiders finished the 2022 season with a record of 16-24