Hilmar's varsity baseball and softball teams were, by many standards, the surprise of the year — at least in the Trans-Valley League, and in a year where there wasn't much of an expectation heading in.
It paid off for head coaches in Bobby Swedberg and Kara Olesen who were set for success with a multitude of talented ball players who had great years and provided everybody with a glimpse of what the future can provide.
Both sides saw a number of All-League selections along with a few honorable mentions.
The softball team failed to make the postseason after a league record of 4-6 and 10-11 overall.
Unfortunately for the 'Jackets, the softball postseason opportunity will have to wait another year, but they shouldn't be overly concerned since they return a majority of the team.
All around, the softball team saw many individuals spark the infield showcasing a large number of great players.
The entire infield, including the pitcher and catcher, had above average seasons. The outfield, they also dominated as well and had a first All-League selection in Katelyn Canella, who finished the year with a .429 batting average.
Freshman pitcher Madison Aguiniga was a also a first team selection after tossing 65 innings for the year and finishing with an ERA of 2.29.
“I am really proud of these girls and I am looking forward to next season,” said Hilmar softball coach Kara Olesen.
Mckenzie Martinez, Morgan Amarante and Sarah Hughes were honorable mentions.
The baseball team made the playoffs for the first time since 2012 with a league record of 8-4, and the help of their seniors and a few other underclassmen.
Senior Jarrod Willis led the herd with a staggering batting average of .486 and was named the TVL Offensive Player of the Year after batting .688 during league play. During that span Willis was 22 for 32, with 15 RBI, 6 doubles, 8 walks, four stolen bases and just four strikeouts.
“I did start off a little slow coming from basketball, but I put in a lot of extra hours in the cages and at home because I wanted to be ready for league,” said Willis. “I made a few adjustments and the ball started falling and I just kept getting more confident. I was patient in the box and really focused on hitting my pitch and not chasing pitches out of the zone.”
Alex Chavez, who batted .355, was also a first team selection along with Colton Dutey, Preston Costa and Tyler Amarante.
Dutey finished the year with an ERA of 2.84 in 44 1/3 innings pitched and Costa hit .305 while Amarante finished the year with an average of .368.
Wyatt Amaral and Noah Batista were honorable mentions.