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Mesa softball has sweep day taking on Santa Barbara

Cierra Filippone is greeted by her teammates after extending Mesa’s lead in game two with a solo home run. Photo Credit: Clay Fordham/The Mesa Press.

San Diego Mesa College’s softball took on Santa Barbara City College in a doubleheader affair that saw both games swing in Olympian’s favor. 

On the day, the Mesa strung together a dramatic 5-4 walk-off victory and a lopsided 9-0 mercy rule over five innings – extending their winning streak to seven games. 

Before this hot stretch, the home squad carried a record of 8-12 struggling with consistency on a game-to-game basis. In fact, they displayed the type of inconsistency that doesn’t help a team’s playoff push

“We kind of had a roller coaster ride at the beginning,” head coach Jaclyn Guidi said. Honing the tone of a veteran coach, she continued, “Playoffs at the junior college level, it’s 42 teams and the top 18 get in. That’s all. There’s no cushion room or you tried.”

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The player’s understood the urgency to flip an immediate switch.

Rolling into game one, the Olympians started their hard-tossing right-hander, Bailey Oftedahl.

After falling behind early 1-0 in the top of the second, freshman Kori Jonilonis was able to respond to the team’s offense with an RBI single. That was just a fraction of the production she provided for game one. 

The 1-1 pitcher’s duel was disrupted once again by Jonilonis in the bottom of the fourth inning, but this time, she did so with an exclamation point. She got a hold of a pitch out over the plate and sent it out to deep left-center field, for her first career collegiate home run, to put Mesa ahead 2-1.

The Vaquero’s offense could only be held at bay for so long as they managed to even the score, 2-2, with an RBI single off the bottom of the center field wall in the top of the sixth. 

However, the relentless Mesa bats were ignited courtesy of Jolene Giles when she drove a line-drive triple over the right fielder’s head to pull the Olympians ahead, 3-2.

After the game, Giles said, “We’re starting to learn each other’s skills, and how each person plays individually. We’re kind of working off of that, and it’s just making us [work as] a unit, as one.”

With an important insurance run standing on third base, Giles, and two outs, there was no one better at the moment standing at the plate.

Jonilonis shot an RBI single through the right side of the infield to extend Mesa’s lead to 4-2. 

However, game one was far from over.

Santa Barbara kicked off the top of the seventh inning with a lead-off double. With the tying run at the dish, the Vaqueros connected on a two-run home run to deep left-center field, bringing the game back to a tightly knit 4-4 contest. 

Working through high-stress pitching, Oftedahl bared down and stranded the go-ahead runner who stood on third base with only one out.

With a lot more softball left on the day, Carissa Topolinski was ready to call the game. She connected on a flyball to dead center field, clearing the fence for a walk-off home run. Topolinski’s teammates mobbed her as she brought across the winning run for the Olympians, capturing a 5-4 victory in game one on the day. 

With game two right around the corner, everyone kept their spikes laced up as the teams regrouped for a brand new ballgame. 

Right-hander Arianna Izaguirre took the rubber for the Mesa following their dramatic finish no less than an hour before. 

After working a quick top of half of the first, her team’s bats picked up where they left off. 

Second baseman Arianna Salazar laced a lead-off double to deep right-center to kick off game two. The Olympians brought out the small ball early, as a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt advanced Salazar to third base with only one out. 

Three-hole hitter, Topolinski was ready to deliver once again as she hit a laser off the center field wall for an RBI double. Two batters later Giles roped a double of her own that brought across the second run. With that, the floodgates were opened early as they poured across five runs in the first frame. 

In reality, one run was all Izaguirre ever needed. She picked up her offense by tossing a complete game effort across five shutout innings. 

“Us just [swinging] the bats were for their favors (Oftedahl and Izaguirre). We all hit today, which is amazing,” Topolinski said in regard to her pitcher’s performances. 

The Olympians added four more runs across the next four innings, including a solo shot to dead center for sophomore Cierra Filippone for her first career collegiate home run. 

The nine runs in total were enough to call a mercy rule for a 9-0 shutout victory.

With seven consecutive wins rattled off, the Olympian’s softball team improved their record to 15-12 on the season, and they’re looking to make a playoff push that’s been fueled by playing for one another.

“We have a lot of sophomores, and I don’t think we want to say goodbye yet,” Izaguirre said with a humble tone. She added, “We’re trying to approach every game with all our pride and all of our love. Just go out at it, you know?”

Mesa looks to extend their winning streak to eight as they take on Fullerton next time out in a big rematch from earlier this season. 

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About the Contributor
Clay Fordham
Clay Fordham, Sports Editor
Clay Fordham is serving as the Sports Editor for The Mesa Press this spring 2023 semester. In his second year at San Diego Mesa College, third total, this will be Clay's first year as a part of The Mesa Press. After the spring 2023 semester, he will be transferring to San Diego State University. Clay is a journalism major who will carry a minor in communication studies as well.  Clay played numerous sports growing up and found a love for baseball in specific. With that being said, most of his writings will likely be covering sports of some sort. There are many other important things that he values and enjoys with much of that being spending time with family and friends. In the future, Clay hopes this experience in being involved with the Mesa Press will help serve as a stepping stone to becoming a better writer.
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