SoCal Preview: No. 7 seeded Softball Faces No. 11 Bakersfield in SoCal Round One for Second-Straight Year

Photos by Bobby R. Hester
Photos by Bobby R. Hester

After looking from the outside in on a possible playoff berth, the Riverside City College softball team rattled off 10 wins in their final 11 conference games leading to a fourth place finish in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC). After finishing the season with an overall record of 26-13 and a 13-8 conference mark, the Tigers earned the seventh seed in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) and will host the No. 11 seeded Bakersfield College Renegades in a best-of-three series.

This will be a ticketed event as mandated by the CCCAA. There will be a cash only charge of $12 for general admission and an $8 admission fee for students, faculty, staff, veterans, 60 and over and 16 and under fans. Student, faculty and staff must present a valid ID. There will be a $5 parking fee regulated by the Riverside City College District police.

The two team have frequented one another the past two season. This season, the Tigers traveled to the Renegades' diamond in late March and defeated them by the final score of 11-9. This series will serve as a first-round rematch as the two foes met in the 2018 SoCal Regional Round One. Bakersfield completed a two-game sweep last year.

The Tigers have proven to win in numerous ways. They have displayed showings of mass power, produced runs through small ball and strung together pitching aided victories. It is safe to say that Riverside is a well-rounded squad.

Seven of the Tiger's starting nine are hitting well above .300 and have at least 24 hits. Pacing the Tigers is sophomore shortstop Karter Williams.

Williams, who was recently named to the 3CFA All-Southern California team and the OEC First-Team All-Conference squad, has worked towards many team-pacing marks. She leads her squad with a .460 batting average, .504 on-base percentage, 58 hits, 14 doubles, 43 runs scored and 20 stolen bases. While starting in 37 games, she has recorded at least one hit in 32 games and has recorded 18 multi-hit games. At one point in the season, she was carting a 15-game hitting streak. Furthermore, she has scored at least twice in 11 games and has recorded eight multi-RBI games.

Backing her prowess is sophomore slugger Danielle Lopez. Lopez, who has been slotted as the starting third baseman since the get go, brings the power to the lineup as seen in a team high 12 jacks. Her mark also ties her for fifth in the state. She is responsible for driving in a team-high 59 RBI which ranks second in the state. She has recorded 21 multi-RBI games and ended the season by driving in at least one run in seven-consecutive games. She drove in four RBI in a victory over Santiago Canyon and three RBI in a victory over Saddleback. Furthermore, she has driven in four RBI on three separate occasions all coming in wins.

Sophomore first baseman and two-year starter Jocelyn Ontiveros is a huge threat in the lineup as seen in a .344 batting average and .541 slugging percentage leading to six doubles and six RBI. Freshman center fielder Samantha Peluffo has been slotted in the leadoff spot for the majority of the season and has recorded a .336 batting average and scored 35 times, while sophomore right fielder Danielle Melendez earned a .347 batting average to go along with a .426 on base percentage.

The pitching duties have been handled by a trio of arms with sophomore Lorena Fitch acting as the ace of the staff. Fitch has earned an overall record of 14-5 leading to a 3.63 ERA in 104 innings pitched. She has tossed two complete games and earned one save. Sophomore Brianna Arroyo followed with eight wins and three saves, while freshman Marissa-Lena nares earned three saves and two wins.

Be sure to follow live stats on www.rccathletics.com for game one on Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m.