(Walnut, CA) Mt. SAC Softball is set to #GetOnTheBus for the 2019 season.
#GetOnTheBus is Head Coach Ruby Rojas' theme for 2019 team and the goal for her 19 member squad is to ride the bus all the way to the California Community College Athletic Association State Championships.
"We have a 'one way' bus ticket that reaches its final destination on May 19 in Bakersfield (for the state championships), replied 2018 South Coast Conference Coach of the Year (3rd consecutive), replied Rojas. "We only carry positive and committed passengers on this journey. We might have flat tires, delays, heavy rain or some detours along the road, but the journey continues and no one gets off this bus until we reach our final destination."
The 2019 journey will begin with three games on Saturday and Sunday, January 26th and 27th at Bakersfield College, where the Mounties will take on San Mateo, Bakersfield and Santiago Canyon.
2018 State Championship in Review
The 2018 team compiled 41 victories which was the fourth time over the 40-win mark in the last five years and was the Mounites third consecutive South Coast Conference North title. The team had a perfect 8-0 record in the playoffs (42 runs scores) and a come-from-behind win in the championship game.
Rojas reflected on her first state title as a coach and fifth as a program at Mt. SAC.
"They were a magical team that had the five C's: committed, confidence, chemistry, competitive and clutch."
Clutch is the key word as the Mounties were trailing, 4-2 in the title game to Palomar, but a dramatic three-run home run in the sixth inning by freshman outfielder Vicky Gutierrez proved the difference, along with the two-inning relief pitching by sophomore Jessica Olvera.
Olvera finished the season with a 10-1 record and championship-game starter Briana Wheeler was 26-5. Wheeler was chosen as the Most Valuable Pitcher in the state tournament for the Mounties.
Along with Wheeler, sophomore catcher Michelle Santiago was named MVP of the championships and sophomore Carissa Felix and freshman Caitlyn Felina were named to the All-Tournament team.
The Mounties four previous state championships came in 2003, '05, '07 and '09 under now CSU Fullerton Head Coach, Kelly Ford.
As for the 2019 team, 10 returners from last years' title team return, including: Wheeler, Adriana Ramirez, Ronni Gallegos, Ciara Granado, Gutierrez, Gabby Estrada, Amanda Esquivel, Candace Haliburton, Felina and Erika Eklund.
Complementing the 10 returners will be six freshmen and three transfers.
The six freshman include pitchers Zoe Brewer (Corona, Santiago HS) and Alexia Silvas (Fullerton), catcher/utility Quinn De Avila (South Hills), infielders Jessika Trujillo (Ayala) and Charleen Macias (Northview) and outfielder Ashley Rivera (John Marshall). De Avila is a member of the Mexican National Softball Team.
Two sophomore transfers from Chaffey College include: Ally Longtree (Ayala) and Rayven Spencer (Corona, Centennial), along with a NCAA Division 3 University transfer, sophomore Alyssa Guzman (Valley View) round out the program newcomers.
"We are excited about this year once again and can't wait to get started," Rojas added.
Rojas's staff will once again include Alex Mascarenas, 2018 California Junior College Easton/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Assistant Coach of the Year and veteran coach Jim Bollier. Two new coaches, PJ Leon and Michelle Evans, join the program.
Two other post season honors bestowed upon the 2018 program include being named the NFCA California Junior College National Coaching Staff of the Year and the Mt. SAC Softball Field being named the inaugural winner of the 2018 Turface Athletics/NFCA California JC Field of the Year.
Follow Mt. SAC Softball on twitter @mtsac_softball
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.