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Merced College Notebook: Bussey, Wright land in history books

Merced College catcher Sam Bussey claimed a bit of history on Tuesday when the She-Devils traveled to Stockton to play San Joaquin Delta in a doubleheader at its new field.

With her team down 2-0 in the fourth inning, the sophomore unloaded on an inside curveball.

The lefty easily cleared of the right-field fence, striking the top of the batting cage beyond with the field's first home run.

Delta pitcher Alaina Shull described the shot as the kind you don't even bother turning around to see.

"I was struggling a bit, so it was the perfect pitch for me," Bussey said. "At the time I was just happy to get my team on the board.

"But it's pretty cool to know that 10 years from now I'll still be the first one to hit a home run there."

All the Wright Moves

When Aariona Breazell unexpectedly quit the Merced College basketball team midway through the season, coach Allen Huddleston found himself in desperate need of someone filling a scoring void coming off of the bench.

Alyssa Wright answered the call.

The freshman guard has seen her playing time increase and has steadily matched that with improved production.

The former Merced star scored a career-high 26 points against Taft on Feb. 7 and was named Central Valley Conference Co-Player of the week along with Fresno City's Jasmine Noldon.

According to Huddleston, Wright is the first Lady Devil in school history to receive the honor.

"It's a shocker, but I feel pretty good," Wright said. "We just played very unselfishly in the Taft game and my teammates were able to get me a lot of good looks."

Not-So-Welcome Home

Tawni Barttels had Thursday circled on her calendar for a long time.

It was the day the former Atwater star and current Foothill College pitcher was set to return to Merced County.

Because of travel restrictions, Foothill and Taft College were scheduled to meet halfway and play at She-Devil Diamond on Thursday.

"Three of my old coaches were coming," Barttels said. "All of my friends at Merced College were going to be there.

"My parents and my sister were going to come. I was pretty excited."

Unfortunately, it never happened.

With a constant flow of rain on Wednesday night, MC called the two schools on Thursday morning and said they didn't want them to tear up She-Devil Diamond. The game was moved to Taft, cancelling Bartells' triumphant return.

Softball Players Wanted

Barttels isn't the only local softball player attempting to make a name for herself at the community college level this season.

Not counting those on the MC roster, eight different local softball players at six different schools will be donning diamonds across the state.

A few, such as Fresno City's Brianna Fulkerson, will even take on the She-Devils this season.

"I think it shows that softball in the area gets overlooked," Barttels said. "There's some real talent out there and its starting to show up in the next level."

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