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Pride softball seeks second league title; Turlock starts strong

Pride softball seeks second league title; Turlock starts strong

Sophomore Mariah Gonzalez lets a pitch loose during an afternoon practice at Turlock.


POSTED March 8, 2013 11:27 p.m.

It’s called softball, but the ladies of Turlock and Pitman High have been working hard as they prepare for the 2013 Central California Conference season. With pre-season play already in full swing and the beginning of league just a few days away, the Bulldogs and Pride are both building team chemistry and supplying their young teams with invaluable experience; foundations they hope will carry them to a championship and into the post-season.

Pitman High claimed its first CCC title last season with the help of strong pitching and veteran players. Though many of last season’s pieces are now gone, the Pride have figured out a way to reassemble their squad and are experiencing success both on the mound and behind the plate.

Pitman is currently 4-1 with its only loss decided by one run in the opening game of the year. Returners Sarah Ward and Erika Aguilar have been a big part of Pitman’s early success with the pair hitting multiple RBIs during Pitman’s 8-0 victory over Johansen High and its 5-4 victory over Summerville in this year’s Ceres Bulldog Classic.

Underclassman Alexis Mettler has also come up big for the Pride with a combination of strong pitching and consistent hitting. Other notable contributors so far this season are Nicole Bailey, Kelsey Sheppherd, and Skylar Taylor, among others.

While Pitman dominated the field last season, Turlock struggled with its youth and inexperience which led to a winless CCC record. Turlock again enters this season with a young team but with six returners it also has experience—and it’s shown so far.

Turlock’s record of 3-2 is an early indicator of its progress, as is the fashion in which its wins were earned. The Bulldogs twice battled back from behind for comeback wins and recently blew out Modesto Christian High, 22-1, at the Ceres Bulldog Classis.

With Nicole Vasquez, Nicolette Vizcaino, Angie Murphy, Rachel Aldax, Lexi Lucero, and Lindsey Holguin suited up for another season, Turlock’s outlook for 2013 is rising. And with the addition of underclassman pitchers like Mariah Gonzalez and Bergen Benedict, head coach Jill Ogden isn’t just hoping for a turnaround season, she’s expecting it.

“They’re confidence is a lot higher this year and our pitching has done a really good job for us so far,” Ogden said of her team. “I like where we’re at. We’re playing well and the girls are coming together.”

Both Pitman and Turlock will compete in today’s final round of the Ceres Bulldog Classic before the CCC season officially begins. Turlock’s first league game will be against Atwater High at home on Tuesday. Pitman will host Golden Valley High the following day.

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