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Otero Junior College
1802 Colorado Ave.
La Junta CO 81050

PH: 719-384-6859
FX: 719-384-6933

Jim Rizzuto

Athletic Director
Gary Addington

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College News
OJC Softball wins Region IX title
May 13, 2014

Despite all the end of the year festivities, the Lady Rattlers had their focus on one specific goal: defending their Region IX title.

Last Thursday, Otero started their region tournament play by defeating Lamar CC 14-0 in five innings. They then played Lamar CC the following day, winning 9-0 in five innings to move into the championship round of games.

On Saturday, graduation morning, our sophomores literally walked across the stage received their diplomas and jumped on the bus to head back to Lamar to face Western Nebraska for the best 2 out of 3 series championship games.  Otero beat Western 4-2 the first game and won 1-0 to be the Region IX Champions. 

“We are extremely proud of our girls for being able to take care of business not only on the field, but more importantly finishing their finals week and graduating, all while winning four games and becoming Region IX Champions for the second year in a row,” said OJC Softball Head Coach Ben Garcia.

Tayler Hall, Anna Jean Souza, Nalani Hernandez, and Jacque Solis were selected to First Team All-Region IX team. Cierra Cosslet, Mia Gautron, and Nicole Montoya were selected to the Second Team All-Region team.

Hall was also selected Region IX Defensive player of the year and is currently in the top three in the nation (NJCAA) for wins, with 29, and second in the nation (NJCAA) for strikeouts, with 239.

Hernadez was selected Region IX Offensive player of the year. She is currently 12th in the nation (NJCAA) with a batting average of .489 and 5th in the nation (NJCAA) with 24 doubles. 

The Lady Rattlers head to El Dorado, Kan. to play Butler Community College on Wednesday, May 7, at 4 and 6 p.m. central time.  These games are a best 2 out of 3 series and the winner advances to the national tournament in St. George, Utah.

 Photo by Tracy Edgar Photography.

The Lady Rattlers will defend their Region IX title as the #1 seed
April 24, 2014

The Otero Lady Rattlers started off the season in early February in Scottsdale, Ariz. then traveled to Texas the following weekend.  They played nationally ranked teams both weekends. Prior to travel, the weather had not been conducive to outside practice in La Junta. Playing teams that had been able to practice outside, the girls had the chance to benefit from the learning experiences and prepare for the games ahead.

In the month of February, the Lady Rattlers played 25 games. They played very well towards the end of February and into March. After time off at spring break, the team hit a bump in the road and split the next five dates of games.

In April, there were fewer games, but this gave the Lady Rattlers an opportunity to get back to the fundamentals of the game in quality practices. On April 23, the Lady Rattlers had sophomore day and played their last regular season game at home against Dodge City Community College. The girls played outstanding softball, run ruling Dodge City both games, 8-0, with one being a perfect game.

Despite the ups and downs experienced along the way, the Otero Softball team won the Region IX league and will be the number 1 seed in the Region IX tournament starting April 30 in Lamar.

“The girls are all healthy, playing good softball and ready to move forward,” said OJC’s Head Softball Coach, Ben Garcia.  “The Lady Rattlers are currently 41-15 and are ready to defend their Region IX Title.”

Otero Baseball wins series against Western Nebraska
April 24, 2014

As conference play winds down in Region IX, the Otero Junior College Rattlers are now holding down third place going into the last weekend of conference play.  This past weekend, the Rattlers were on the road playing Western Nebraska in a huge conference series.

Both clubs entered the series knowing that their playoff berths were on the line, with the Rattlers sitting in fourth place and the Cougars sitting in fifth place in conference play.  Knowing that this series could determine whether or not they would be playing in the playoffs had emotions on both sides running high.  

“It was definitely a post season atmosphere this past weekend,” said Rattler Head Coach Chris Carrillo.  “Anytime you have two teams competing for a possible playoff berth, you are going to see a few fireworks.”

The Rattlers didn’t get off to a great start in game one behind right hander Matt Smith.  The Rattlers put themselves in a hole early by giving up 3 runs in the first inning as a result of a walk and an error then a timely double by Western Nebraska.  Smith went five innings, faced 26 hitters, gave up 7 hits, 4 earned runs and finished with 5 strike outs. 

The Rattlers responded offensively in the top of the 2nd with 2 runs of their own as the result of back to back doubles with 1 out by Anthony Boyle and Kevin Barnes, followed by a single by Juandy Mendoza.  The Rattlers settled in defensively after the first inning putting up zeros in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings.  In the 5th inning Western Nebraska put up 3 runs off a few timely hits which sealed the Rattlers fate in a losing effort.  The final score in game one was 8-4, but the Rattlers would bounce back.

In game two, the Rattlers sent freshman right hander Brandon Feldman to the mound.  Feldman came up big for the Rattlers throwing a complete game shutout.  Feldman went 7 innings giving up only 3 hits, and collected two strike outs. “Feldman did a great job of attacking hitters early in the count and letting our defense work behind him” stated Carrillo. 

The Rattlers struggled offensively early in the game to push a run across.  The game went scoreless until the top of the 5th inning.  Keith Huntington started the inning with a leadoff double, followed by a walk by Mendoza.  With runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs, Neiko Martinez executed the sacrifice bunt for the Rattlers, advancing both runners into scoring position. 

With 1 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd, Alex Flores executed a great push bunt to the right side of the infield to score the first run of the game.   After the RBI from Flores, the Rattlers offense came alive and they compiled 9 runs in the last 3 innings of the game.  The final score of game two was 9-0 in favor of the Rattlers.

Sunday also favored the Rattlers, with solid pitching performances in both games.  In game three, Oquist went 5.2 innings for the Rattlers only giving up 1 run in the third.  Oquist fanned 3 Cougars, gave up only 3 hits on the day and collected his 5th win of the season.  “Oquist did a great job of pitching out of a few jams and made pitches when he needed to,” Carrillo said. 

Offensively, runs were hard to come by in game one on Sunday.  The Rattlers managed to push one across in the 2nd, another in the 5th and two more in the 7th.  The final score in game three was 4-1.

In game four of the series, the Rattlers had momentum early and jumped out on the Cougars with 2 runs in the 1st inning.  This gave right hander Jarrett Bott the ability to pitch with a lead and attack the strike zone early in the game.  Bott went 4.1 innings for the Rattlers giving up 3 earned runs and 5 hits.  Bott collected 7 strikeouts and only allowed 1 walk.  The Rattlers hit through the lineup and put up 5 more runs in the 5th inning and 3 more in the 4th inning.  The final score in game four was 10-5. 

As a result of the Rattlers winning this series against Western Nebraska, they moved into third place in the conference entering the last weekend of conference play.  The Rattlers are at home this upcoming weekend against the Cougars again for another four game set.  The games are scheduled for Saturday starting at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

“We just need to continue to focus on executing the little things at this point in the season and we feel we will be in good shape entering the last week of the regular season” Carrillo.  

Otero Baseball drops three of four to NJC
April 10, 2014

Otero Junior College Baseball is still in third place in conference play after a rough weekend.  In a two-day series against Northeastern Junior College, the Rattlers lost three of the four games.

 “We just couldn’t get any type of momentum going in our dugout all weekend” stated head Coach Chris Carrillo.  “We just need to do a better job of doing the little things that make us successful” Carrillo.

 In game one of the series the Rattlers gave up 4 runs in the bottom of the first inning as a result of 3 walks, a double and a single.  The Rattlers responded in the top of the second with 4 runs of their own.  Kevin Barnes led off the inning with a solo homerun.  After 2 strikeouts, Juandy Mendoza walked, followed by a single by Blake Stoehr. Landon Merka then drew the free pass bringing up Blake Johnson who walked on 4 strait to get an easy RBI.  With the bases loaded and two outs, Marcus Gilmore came through with a two RBI double, tying the ball game.  In the bottom of the 3rd inning the Rattlers came across more trouble giving up 3 runs on 4 hits.  The Rattlers were only able to push one more run across in the top of the 6th inning. They lost the game 8-5. 

In game two, it was more of the same story for the Rattlers, not being able to eliminate the big inning defensively.  They gave up 3 runs in the 2nd and 4 runs in the 3rd inning which is all that NJC needed to defeat Otero 7-4.

“We didn’t get the pitching performances that we needed out of our starting arms this weekend” said Head Coach Chris Carrillo.  “As a result of our starting pitching struggling this weekend we struggled as a team to maintain any type of tempo.  We are a team that likes to play fast and we were unable to do that this weekend which resulted in a lot of momentum in the other dugout.” 

Day two of the series again started off much of the same as day one.  The Rattlers were winning the ball game 3-2 after 3 innings and then gave up a 7 spot in the bottom of the 4th inning.  The Rattlers offense tried to climb back in the game in the 6th inning but it was too little too late.  The Rattlers lost 11-7. 

In game four of the series, the Rattlers put it all together getting the win in 6 innings.  Otero defeated NJC 15-3.  Working to avoid the sweep on the road, the Rattlers came through both on the mound and at the plate to come away with a win. 

“I was proud of the way our guys pulled their hats down and grinded out a win to avoid the sweep, but we need to be better all the way around,” Carrillo.

The Rattlers went to work this week in practice and are looking forward to getting back out on the field this weekend against Trinidad.  The Rattlers dropped 3 out of 4 to the Trojans early in the season and are looking forward to completing this weekend. Otero will take on Trinidad State Junior College in a four game set on Friday and Saturday.  Both days will have a start time of 1 p.m.  The double header on Friday will be in La Junta and the double header on Saturday will be in Trinidad. 

“This is a big series for the conference standings against a good Trinidad team, with that said I feel our guys will respond to the challenge,” said Carrillo.

OJC's Smith throws perfect game
March 31, 2014

Matt Smith, a sophomore pitcher from Albuquerque, N.M. threw a perfect game on Saturday against McCook Community College.  Otero won the game 10-0 in five innings and won three out of four games in the series. 

“Smith was locating very well and keeping McCook off balance with his off speed pitches.  I couldn’t be happier for Matt,” said OJC Baseball Head Coach Chris Carrillo.  “Before the game started Smith said, ‘I don’t feel real good today, but let’s do this coach.’”

In the game Smith had four strikeouts, six fly outs, and five ground outs.  In the game Smith threw 48 pitches and 37 of them were strikes. 

“After the game was over Smith thought he had thrown a no-hitter, but didn’t realize it was a perfect game,” said Carrillo.  “He was pretty excited as was the entire Otero Baseball Team when they realized it was a perfect game. It was pretty fun to be a part of,” Carrillo added.

With the win, Smith improved his record to 5-2 on the season.  “Matt has been outstanding all year long for us.  He goes into a different zone when he pitches,” said Carrillo.  “On the season Smith has a 1.80 ERA with 52 strikeouts and only 4 walks.”

Up next for the Otero Rattlers is Northeastern Junior College who is currently in second place in the Empire Conference.  Otero won three out of four games against NJC the last time the two teams played in early March.  The games will be played in Sterling on Saturday and Sunday April 5 and 6 at 1 and 3:30 p.m.  Otero is currently in third place in the Empire conference with a 12-12 record and is 20-15 overall on the season.

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