Softball captures Big 8 championship

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Janelle Rodriguez catches a pitch during the final game of the season
Janelle Rodriguez catches a pitch during the final game of the season.

The Mustangs softball team finished the regular season as Big 8 champions for the second time in the past three years with a 5-1 win on April 23 at American River College.

Janelle Rodriguez gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead with a two-run home run in the third inning and Cheyenne Washington followed with a solo home run

Delaney Pamplin pitched a complete game and picked up her 24th win of the season in the circle.

“It’s exciting because it’s a tough league,” said Head Coach Jim Fisher about his team finishing the regular season as co-champions with Sacramento City College

“To be a co-champion says a lot about the girls because the season is a long sprint.

With the win, the Mustangs finished the regular season at 32-5 overall and with a record of 19-2 in league play.

Following a season last year that saw the Mustangs score 226 runs and hit 25 home runs over 46 games, the offense has seen a huge increase this season as they have already scored 264 runs and hit 35 home runs through the first 37 games.

“I can’t say that I expected that,” said Fisher about his team’s offense this season, which currently stands second in the state in home runs. “As they improve they grow into their ability and things work out and that’s where the power comes from.”

Mikaela Ferreira leads the team hitting a fourth best in the state .541 with 11 home runs and 44 runs batted in while Tawny Deerinck is hitting .423 with a team-best 45 runs batted in.

“I believe we are still getting better,” said Fisher about how his team has progressed over the season. “There’s more here. We need to make sure when we practice next week that we are better than we were this week. If we are and we come out and play I like our odds. I can’t predict wins and losses but I like our odds.”

As the No. 3 seed in the NorCal Regional, the Mustangs will open the postseason and the quest for a state championship at home on Friday May 3 at 2 p.m. with game one of the best of three series against No. 14 seed Porterville.