Rivera Paving The Way For The Dons

Freshman Karlee Rivera leads the Dons with 31 hits, placing her third in the OEC in batting average and ranking her 31st in the state. / Diego Devia/ el Don

Freshman Karlee Rivera’s walk off single in the bottom of the seventh inning Wednesday led the Dons to a win against the Orange Coast College Pirates 4-3 in crucial conference game that put the Dons into a tie for first.

The infielder has 31 hits in 21 games, and is third in the OEC in batting average which ranks her 31st in the state. She also has 13 RBI’s and six stolen bases.

“It feels great, I like to be in this position,” Rivera said about competing for first place in the OEC. “We are increasingly getting better and I am excited that we are slowly winning.”

The Dons are second place in the conference and one game behind first place with a conference record of 7-2 and an overall of 13-8.

The softball team started the season by losing their first three games, but then found its rhythm winning five out of its next six.

“I feel like we progressed a lot from the beginning, it was a bit rocky, we couldn’t get our hitting momentum, but now that we have our hitting momentum it’s unstoppable like we can do anything,” Freshman Desiree McCormick said. McCormick has 12 RBI’s along with 22 hits this season.

Sophomore Kali Kitsinis leads the dons in pitching with an ERA of 2.82 while striking out 36 batters. Not far behind is Kitsinis’ teammate, sophomore Priscilla De La Torre, who has won seven of her nine starts and has struck out 23 batters. With Kitsinis’ change-up and De La Torre’s fastball they are a force to be reckoned with, but they don’t like to take all the credit. Both thank their defense for helping them get the job done as they have recorded 383 put outs this season.

“I had to make sure to hit my spots and trust my defense behind me and I know they are going to come back and hit,” said De La Torre after her impressive win against OCC.

With have 16 games left this season, the team feels confident it can get the job done. Santa Ana has defeated everyone in their conference except for No. 1 ranked Cypress. The Dons have lost both matchups against the Chargers.

“It was a little bit tough in the beginning but we are coming back stronger and better and it’s going to be great,” catcher Tiana Patrick said.