Southern League play will kick off this week for softball, pending the rainy schedule predicted, but either way Delhi and Denair high schools will be ready.
Both the Hawks of Delhi and the Coyotes of Denair each ended last season with just a pair of wins in league play, but it didn’t come without positives that seemed to have carried over into the new year.
“Right now, a lot of the girls were excited because most of them were in JV, and everything is fast paced,” said Delhi head coach Mike Andam. “We just finished playing in the Modesto Tournament and they were overwhelmed; different pace they are not used to yet, but it helped us out and hopefully we’ll get practice in before the rain.”
“This is my first year helping at all,” said Denair assistant coach Katy Johnston. “I see a lot of potential in all the girls. We do have a younger varsity team, a lot of our girls were moved up, either sophomores or freshman. I think this year will be an actually good year, and the next year we should be better and then the next year even better.”
Johnston, a local who played for the Pitman Pride varsity softball squad from 2007-08, will be assisting Joe Esquivel who will serve as the head coach for the Coyotes. The young squad consists of two seniors, five sophomores and two freshmen. Some of the players to look out for will be Rosie Parker, Faith Vierra, and Suzy Brasil.
“Everyone is really good, they all bring something to the team,” said Johnston. “There is a lot of potential, because they are young. It’s better for us, because we are able to have them for longer so when they are seniors who knows how good they will be.”
Delhi is currently boasting almost just as young of a team that includes two sophomore starters in the infield alone. The two senior starters are Carina Fernandez (2B) and Diana Contreras (1B).
Junior pitcher Valerie Mercado is also a returner and expecting to be a standout from the mound. Mercado brings in a wealth of knowledge and experience, having started at varsity since her freshman year.
“If Val Mercado stays well on the mound and our left side improves we could contend for that final playoff spot, but we will see, it’s tough,” said Andam. “The two seniors on the right side will give us support, but with the sophomores… it’s a new experience and they are coming along; we’ve been working with them and they are coming along.”
Denair’s next game is scheduled to be at home against Ripon Christian at 4 p.m. Friday.
Delhi will take on Waterford on the road at 4 p.m. Friday.