A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


Mt. SAC softball makes it to the State Championships

Series against the El Camino Warriors turns into a three-game battle
Megan Sanders
Mt. SAC sophomore shortstop baseman Janis Espinoza (19) dapping up freshman first baseman Mercedes Alba (20) after scoring a run.

On Saturday, May 11, Mt. SAC continued their best of three series against the El Camino Warriors to determine which team makes it to the State Championship game.

The series between the two teams began on Friday, May 10, with SAC taking a 1-0 series lead over the Warriors with a score of 5–1. With Game 2 being held on Saturday, this meant a quick turnaround for both teams. After SAC’s Game 1 win, they needed to win game two in order to clinch their spot in the State Championship.

SAC kept the game close, but unfortunately fell short losing the game 3–4.

Game 2 was a close game from the start, with both teams scoring one run in the first inning. Sophomore infielder Malia Martin (14) scored for the Warriors on an error. SAC would tie the contest after sophomore shortstop Janis Espinoza (19) scored on a double from freshman catcher Morgan Kneubuhler (9).

In the second inning, the Warriors were unable to score another run but ended the inning with a runner left on base and two hits. SAC would double its run total after freshman shortstop Sofia Femath (42) crossed home safely after sophomore pitcher Alyssa Rubalcava (14) sac field to center field.

There was no change to score after the third inning and only one hit was made – a single from SAC sophomore second baseman Rianna De La Barcena (8).


Mt. SAC sophomore second baseman Rianna De La Barcena (8) celebrating her hit as she runs to first base safely. (Megan Sanders)


The Warriors had another unsuccessful zero-run-inning, but SAC was able to capitalize, scoring one run on two hits as Rubalcava (14) scored on a single by Alba (20). Through four innings, SAC led, 3–1.

The fifth inning had zero runs and hits coming from both teams.

The sixth inning was the ultimate turning point with the Warriors scoring three runs and leaving Mt. SAC down a run. SAC switched pitchers for the first and only time during this inning by replacing sophomore pitcher Aleyna Urbina (7) with Rubalcava (14).

SAC was unable to rally back and complete the series sweep during the final two innings for a 4–3 loss forcing the ultimate pressure situation in sports – series tied with a final game in which a winner advances and loser is eliminated from the playoffs.

The concluding series game between the Warriors and SAC started nearly 20 minutes after the conclusion of the decisive Game 2.

SAC came back after a short break on a mission to make it to State. They not only won the final game of the series, they shut out the Warriors, 7–0.

In the first inning, SAC opened the game up with a run scored by Rubalcava (14) after an RBI single from Kneubuhler (9).


SAC freshman outfielder Gabrielle Flores blasting a home run in the bottom of the fifth inning (Megan Sanders)


There were no runs scored on either side until the fifth inning when SAC blew the contest open scoring four runs leaving the Warriors down five. Espinoza (19) and freshman first baseman Audrey White (11) were the first two to score after Rubalcava (14) singled. The other two runs scored in the inning came from freshman outfielder Gabrielle Flores (4) and Rubalcava (14) after Flores hit a home run.

According to Flores (4), the team knew that today could have potentially been their last game, so they were on the hunt from the start.

“We wanted to leave it all on the field and work together and enjoy our moments with each other – especially it being the last moments on our field,” she said.

During the sixth inning, SAC was able to score two more insurance runs to complete the win. Espinoza (19) singled and drove in sophomore second baseman Amanda Esquivel (24) and White (11).


Mt. SAC sophomore shortstop Janis Espinoza (19) after turning on the jets and sliding to home base scoring a run for SAC (Megan Sanders)


Rubalcava (14) not only pitched in relief during the second game of the series for SAC, but also pitched for the entirety of the third game as well.

With SAC having a seven-run lead heading into the top of the seventh, the Warriors were unable to catch up.

For the 16th time in 20 years, Mt. SAC is now State Championship bound. Last season, they punched their ticket to the big dance after shutting out the Bakersfield Renegades, 8-0

According to head coach Rubilena Rojas, the first game on Saturday didn’t go as planned but the team’s trust in one another led to their success in the final game of the series.

“You’re doing it for one another and we’ve got to keep swinging, and great things happen when you do that,” she said.

The State Championship game will be held on Thursday, May 16, and will be hosted by West Valley College.

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About the Contributor
Megan Sanders
Megan Sanders, Sports Editor
Megan Sanders is the Sports Editor. She has been pursuing journalism for a little over a year. She enjoys reporting on sports and doing photography. An interesting fact is that she is a big Ontario Reign/LA Kings fan.

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