Glendora, CA — Last year, the Citrus College Softball team experienced unprecedented success. The Owls knocked out the three time reigning State Champs in the first round of the CCCAA Playoffs and advanced to the second round for the first time in program history. While the Owls do return five players from last year's team that could contribute significantly, the Owls do have a lot of fresh faces, that will look to continue to build off the success of last years team.
"We want to be competitive, we want to win, and we want to take care of business in the classroom," said Citrus College Head Softball Coach Jackie Boxley. "This teams has a different make-up than teams in the past, so we'll have to see how that pans out. We have the ability to hit for power, we can play small ball, and we can pitch. We just have to take care of it out on the diamond. I think we have the tools though to really succeed."
Helping take care of business out on the diamond will be a slew of returners including All-Conference players like Sara Moore and Arianna Sanchez, and a trio of key role players from last year, like Raeleen Tellez, Victoria Baltazar, and Alyssa Lozano. Combine that with a strong recruiting class, and experience and youth should be a potent mixture.
"Our experience is going to be our strength," Boxley said. "The fact that we return players like Sara and Ari [Sanchez], who played in big moments last year, and for those sophomores that learned to clutch up in key situations like Rae [Tellez] and Tori [Baltazar], those guys are going to be the difference."
Still, the Owls did have to replace a lot, and the season may hinge on how the new and the old come together.
"We have to learn to play together. We have a completely different infield that's still learning to play together," Boxley said. "Whether or not they can find the right chemistry will be crucial for us."
History says that the Owls should be a competitor. Under Boxley, Citrus has missed the post-season just two times in 10 years. The Owls will have to just keep doing what they've always done.
"We want to continue what we've been doing. Our first goal is to win conference, but from there we want to get to the playoffs," Boxley said. "Our team last year set a precedent with getting to the second round of the post-season. We want to try to match that, and continue progressing from there."
The Owls, ranked #10 in the Southern California Pre-Season Coaches Poll, kick-off their season today at 2:00 PM at Pasadena City College.