ORANGE COVE – It was ring time for the Central Section Division IV champion Orange Cove High Titans softball team on Monday night.
Before an appreciative crowd at the OCHS gym, members of the 2023 championship squad gathered for a brief ceremony between the Orange Cove versus Orosi High varsity basketball games. During that time, each player along with coaches and staff received championship rings to celebrate the Titans’ 22-8-1 season that was highlighted by a 4-0 section finals victory over Mission Prep.
The loudest cheers came for graduated senior Anahi Castillo (catcher) and returning star players Mia Castillo (pitcher) and Star Roman-elizondo (utility), with Anahi the final player to receive her championship ring. Veteran players on the squad previously have been presented championship rings from the 2022 season when OCHS captured the Southern California Division IV state championship.
After each of the 13 players in attendance received their rings, all presented by head coach Victor Contreras the team as a group was handed the 2023 section championship plaque that was earned with the win over Mission Prep. The Titans’ season ended the following week in a tight 1-0 loss to eventual SoCal state champion Fullerton High.
It’s hardly the finish for Orange Cove softball, which has compiled a 50-14-1 record with two section titles and the 2022 SoCal state crown. This year’s team will be a section and state contender this coming season led by pitcher Castillo (19-2, 0,79 earned run average with 203 strikeouts as a junior) and multi-position Roman-elizondo (.466 BA, 8 home runs, 41 hits and 37 RBI).
The 2024 TItans open the season on Friday, Feb. 23 in an intersectional game at Hollister High. The home opener will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28 against Mt. Whitney High.