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Softball action heats up in TVL, SAL
BHilmar Soft
Hilmar freshman Miranda Gray will look to lead the team as their ace-pitcher in this upcoming season. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

Preseason is currently underway for the Trans Valley League and Southern Athletic League softball teams and also the hopes of a successful campaign this upcoming season.

In head coach Taylor Hiyama’s first year, the Lady ‘Jackets managed to pull away with a 4-18 overall record while posting a 2-10 TVL record, placing them second to last in league.

“Last year was a struggle. It was a frustrating season, but I think this year is a whole new season, I am real excited,” Hiyama said. “We put last year behind us. We made peace with it but are leaving it in the past.”

Three seniors are gone from last year, but they welcome six seniors this year who were starters last season and the squad looks experienced, especially on the defensive side.

Third baseman Jazzlyn Baca, shortstop Valerie Ewing, first basemen Dominique Cozzitorto, and outfielders Amber DeSalles, Kylie Souza and Danielle Clarot will be the seniors leading the way.

“This year we are very experienced. Our defense will be our strong point, we have a lot of experienced players on the outfield,” Hiyama said. “We also have a veteran infield besides our short.”

The team will be made up of mainly juniors and seniors, but the two incoming freshman should make an immediate impact and will see a lot of playing time early on.

The freshman will consist of Katelyn Cannella and pitcher Miranda Gray alongside a plethora of experienced fielders.

“It’s a whole different year and team. It’s going to be fun and exciting because we have that defense and strong bats in our lineup so it should be an exciting-fun season,” Hiyama said. “Our main goal is teamwork and sticking together, of course winning. We want to win league and we believe we can and we should go far this year.”

In yesterday’s contest against Mariposa, the ‘Jackets fell 4-1. The ‘Jackets will travel to play at Livingston High on Monday at 4 p.m.

The Delhi High Lady Hawks came off arguably one of the most successful seasons in school history after placing third in the SAL with a 10-4 record and topping out with 19 wins. The Hawks would eventually lose in the semifinal game against Le Grand in the postseason.

“Last year I feel we ended on a good note, third in sections. We hope to do it again and win this year,” Delhi head coach Tami Tela said. “Camaraderie should be great and this year should be nice.”

After graduating seven seniors, three of which started, the Hawks welcome back a majority of its starters from last season along with four freshman and two sophomores, making up one of the youngest squads in the area.

Leading the way for coach Tela will be last year’s state leader in strikeouts, junior pitcher Alyssa Stockton, who ended her sophomore year with 325 K’s and a batting average of .371.

Junior Briana Lopez will help take the load off Stockton and contribute to the dual pitching threat for the Hawks. Lopez was the batting average leader in last year’s team after accumulating a .494 average and should be the clean-up hitter this year Tela said.

“Alyssa is always a follower because she has been the underclassmen forever, but this year as a junior she needs to lead. Sometimes it can be silent but she needs to lead by example,” Tela said about Stockton. “I think she will learn more about the team this year.”

With the double-headed monsters on the mound, who also possess hitting ability, the Hawks will be solid but the youth of the squad could bring on challenges.

“I believe this year I can consider ourselves a varsity team. Before I had a lot of underclassmen, this year I have a big mix of every grade. They are really a varsity team,” Tela said “I think we still get a little intimidated and scared at times, but these girls want to win all the time, I think that overwhelms them at times.”

Taking on the catching duties will be junior Macy Fronzack. Sophomore Diamond Orozco will be the number three hitter as she adds a big plus to the lineup as an underclassmen.

“Expect to see some exciting games. We have tough competition coming from all over the place and it is always a tough league, but I think this year there will be a lot of good games from all over especially in the top four, so come out and watch,” Tela added.

In their season opener, the Hawks lost 13-2 to Ripon High on Wednesday and it was an eye opener to see what the team needs to work on Tela said.

“We found out we’re a better team and need to get over the game-time jitters or pre-game jitters,” Tela said.

Delhi will travel to play at Millenium High against the Falcons at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

The Turlock Christian Eagles finished second to last place in the SAL last season placing a 4-10 record, but this year, in their final year in the SAL, the Eagles will look to turn things around for the better.

With a team that had no seniors last year and seven freshman, the Eagles return all players into this year’s squad, however the squad awaits the girls’ basketball season to conclude to return over seven players.

Basketball star, Cassie Balswick had a crazy freshman year last season after posting up an amazing .714 batting average while Aimee Jones racked up a .415 average, and this year, the two are sophomores and should help out a squad that was outscored in league 86-123.

As the team awaits most of their roster from basketball, the Eagles will open up their season at Modesto Christian with the game set for 3:30 p.m. Monday

Denair High comes off a heartbreaking season that saw no wins in all regular season and league contests in a year where they had only one senior on the roster along with 11 underclassmen.

The Coyotes finished dead last in the SAL with a 0-14 record and were outscored by opponents 259-5.

In head coach Cindy Turner’s second year, the Coyotes will look to pick up their first win for Turner.

On Tuesday, in their first game this season, the Coyotes lost to Riverbank High by a score of 25-2.

Next for Denair will be a home game against the Ripon Christian Knights scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday.