Photo by Bruce Jacobsen
CYPRESS – It's still early in the season, but the Marauder softball team has already been thrown into the deep end so far.
After an opening season loss to Pasadena City, AVC was dealt the hand of Mt. SAC in its home opener on Tuesday. The Mounties were the state championship finalists last season and presumably opened the season as the state's second ranked team.
After an easy 21-1 victory against San Bernardino on Friday, the Marauders (2-1), which were ousted by Mt. SAC last season in the Super Regionals for a chance at a state title, travel to Cypress College to play two games against Bakersfield College (4-2) and the defending state champions, Cypress.
The Chargers (1-0) which knocked off the Mounties to win the state championship in 2017, have defeated AVC 22 consecutive times. The Marauders' last victory over Cypress was in 1994 and the Chargers hold a 25-2 edge over AVC in both teams' all-time meetings.
Cypress, which sports a 49-game winning streak including an unblemished 48-0 record last season, defeated Rio Hondo, 8-0, in its first game this season. The Chargers have gone to the state tournament in three consecutive years.
"We want to face the best competition every year before we start conference," AVC head coach Cindy Vargas said. "I feel that it prepares them and makes them stronger."
Well certainly facing the state's two top teams in its first five games of the season will definitely help.
"I'm really excited because of the way we played on Tuesday (against Mt. SAC). If we play with that same energy, there's no team that can stop us," Roberts said. "These games are very important for us. Playing these teams in the beginning will determine how we play the rest of the season."
Roberts kept Mt. SAC hitters off balance as she allowed only six hits while striking out five. Her only run allowed came in the top of the seventh inning with AVC well ahead.
The Marauders face the Chargers at 2:30pm and play the Renegades, which have outscored their opponents 36-2 in their four victories, at 12:30pm. Bakersfield's only two losses came against undefeated Fresno City and Santiago Canyon.
AVC holds an overall 31-12 record against the Renegades, including a 5-4 victory last season.