It took a deciding game three to determine the winner of the No. 7 seeded Riverside City College softball team and the No. 11 seeded Bakersfield College Renegades in the first round of California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern Regionals. After the Renegades jumped out to an early one-run lead, the Tigers plated five runs in the bottom of the first and never looked back leading to a 5-3 victory.
After dropping the second game of the series by the final score of 5-3, the Tigers faced elimination in the final contest. Sophomore Lorena Fitch entered the circle for her third start of the series and had no plans of it being her final collegiate start as a Tiger.
After allowing a mere run in the top of the first inning, Fitch set herself to cruise control the following five frames and blanked the Renegades. She followed by retiring six batters in a row and only allowing four base runners through the sixth inning.
She faced a little bit of trouble in the top of the seventh inning by allowing a two-RBI double with two outs in the inning to pull Bakersfield to within two of a tie. However, freshman closer Brianna Arroyo relieved her and recorded the final out of the game on a comebacker to the circle.
Offensively, Riverside did all of its damage in the bottom of the first. Riverside loaded the bases with three-consecutive singles to lead off the game from sophomore shortstop Karter Williams, sophomore right fielder Dani Melendez and sophomore third baseman Danielle Lopez.
Freshman designated player Zinaida Preciado followed by pushing across the first run on a ground out, backed by a single to left field off the bat of sophomore second baseman Breanna Ceballos. Freshman outfield tandem Loreal Fuerte and Samantha Peluffo followed with RBI singles to cap the five-run melee.
The top of the lineup consisting of Williams, Melendez and Lopez went a combined 6-for-10 with three runs scored.
Riverside advances to the CCCAA Super Regionals for the first time since 2013. They will be on the road with their opponent to be determined. Stay tuned to www.rccathletics.com for more information.