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Bulldog, Pride softball foster CCAL title dreams
turlock softball
Shelby Frutoz of Turlock High finished last year with a 1.67 ERA, and a record of 15-4 in 19 appearances after tossing 125 and 2/3 innings while striking out 178. Opponents hit .129 off her (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

Softball season is underway in the Central California Athletic League and with it are the hopes of a new league title for Pitman and Turlock High — despite their rocky starts.

Turlock returns ace pitcher Long Beach State-bound Shelby Frutoz who has been one of the best overall players in the Stanislaus District over the last three seasons.

Pitman comes off a tumultuous year that saw ups and downs, but now coach Joe Lewis is aiming to keep this squad steady and consistent throughout the season. An underclassmen-heavy team will lead the Pride into the new season.

pitman softball
Gracie Alves of Pitman High is one of the key returners for the Pride heading into this year and just one of three seniors (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

“Growing pains so far with this young squad, but they are good,” said Lewis. “Fine tuning things at the moment.”

Pitman is currently boasting just three seniors and a junior on the squad of 11.

Those three seniors include Steele Shumway, Gracie Alves and Kat Martinez.

So far Pitman is off to a 3-5 overall start and one win and a loss in league play.

Turlock is currently boasting an overall record of 6-3, coming off a 4-0 win over Modesto High on Thursday.

“We have only seen two teams but they seem like they are really good, but it is a lot of unknowns,” said Turlock head coach Jill Ogden. “We expect to compete for league, but we have to get our hitting going. We have some questions on defense, just because we lost a lot of infielders last year, but the kids that have come in have stepped in and have done a good job.”

Ogden feels confident that the team around Frutoz can complement each other well.

“We are solid at every position, it is just about putting it all together and getting this team to gel,” said Ogden.

There are four seniors on the squad that includes Faith Erb and Maureen Clark.

Faith Hernandez, Mackenzie Campbell, Maryn Thompson and Lauren Edh are some other standouts that coach Ogden is expecting big things from.

Coach Lewis is expecting his team to be in the hunt for the CCAL despite already losing once in league play already. 

“I think it’s going to be pretty wide open from the looks of everything, whoever starts to hit consistent at the right time and stays there will win it,” Lewis added. “In my mind, we would be obviously winning league. I expect that every year from our team to finish in the top three and earn a playoff berth, that is the goal.”

Turlock will next host Pitman at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday.