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Bair's bat wows San Jose State coach

San Jose State called it a camp, but Mallory Bair knew it was really a tryout.

She had two hours out on the Spartans' diamond to set herself apart from the other potential recruits.

For the first time in years, the former Merced College star allowed herself to feel some doubt.

"I haven't ever really had to compete for a position," Bair said. "At high school and at the JC, I knew I was going to play.

"I was a little nervous when I first got there. I knew it was my chance to live out my dream."

Fortunately for Bair, the second she stepped into the batter's box, talent and instinct fought off the butterflies circling round her stomach.

With San Jose State coach Pete Turner throwing from the circle, Bair made a lasting impression.

"I hit a couple home runs off of him," Bair said. "After that I was fine."

Apparently so.

Turner offered Bair a scholarship and suggested she'd have a good chance at starting for the WAC school next spring.

With Bair signed, MC coach Steve Cassady closed the door on one of the most successful sophomore classes in his 21 seasons with the school.

Along with Bair, Kristen Kronberg (Morningside College), Deborah McCollom (Avila University), Monica Hall (South Carolina Upstate) and Amber Vineyard (Davis and Elkins College) all will be playing at four-year schools next season.

"I haven't had many sophomore classes this big, but I think five players going on is still pretty good," Cassady said. "It shows what a special group this was.

"They worked hard and really deserve it."

Cassady has a history of advancing players to four-year schools, but with Bair and Hall both playing Division I, this year's class really stands out .

"I'm think its great for everyone," Hall said. "It's really a dream come true.

"I'd always hoped to play Division I and now I get to.

"A chance like this is why we went to MC."

Sean Lynch is a Sun-Star sports writer. He can be reached at 385-2476 or via e-mail at slynch@mercedsun-star.com.

She-Devil Signings

Mallory Bair, San Jose State

Kristen Kronberg, Morningside College

Deborah McCollom, Avila University

Monica Hall, South Carolina Upstate

Amber Vineyard, Davis and Elkins College

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