State

High School Softball Season Outlook

As Stanislaus District softball teams gear up for league play, here's a look at some of the top hurlers and hitters.

MODESTO METRO CONFERENCE

Records: Davis (5-0, 1-0), Enochs (3-2, 0-0), Johansen (1-1, 0-0), Modesto (1-4, 0-0), Downey (0-1, 0-0), Beyer (1-3, 0-1).

Pitching: Desi Maldonado picked up where she left off last year, leading Davis to the Ceres Tournament title and shutting down Beyer in the MMC opener. ... Beyer's Melaina Saalfeld also is back and had 10 Ks in a 4-1 loss to Davis. ... Modesto is looking to Daphne Gaynor to replace standout hurler Amanda Pridmore.

Batting: Maldonado swings one of the conference's best bats, as well, and is part of a potent lineup that includes C Alannah Johns, freshmen Nicole Cardoza and Stephanie Crist, and 1B Samantha Nunes. ... Beyer is looking to Saalfeld, Nicole Hobbs and freshman Stephanie Max for its run production. ... Modesto is strong up the middle with C Liz Pridmore, SS Brittany Verissimo — a four-year varsity player — and CF Marlina Rodriguez. Rodriguez bats leadoff, while Verissimo is at cleanup. 3B Mary Epperson and 1B Courtney Wallace provide defense at the corners.

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA CONFERENCE

Records: Buhach Colony (7-3, 0-0), Merced (3-3, 0-0), Turlock (3-4, 0-0), Atwater (1-3, 0-0), Pitman (1-3, 0-0), Golden Valley (1-4, 0-0), Los Banos (1-5, 0-0).

Pitching: BC sophomore Alex Molina (7-3, 1.91 ERA) has 70 Ks in 58 innings, along with two shutouts. ... LB has a sophomore of its own in Kelsie Monroe (1-3, 1.88).

Batting: BC should be able to support Molina's pitching with runs, as SS/2B Morgana Dallas (.654, 7 2Bs, 7 RBIs), Kayleena Flores (.433), 1B Victoria Castillo (.280, 8 RBIs) and 3B Cassie Kalapsa (.312, 6 RBIs) are potent. ... LB's Brooke Monroe (.417), Kiley Mendez (.385), Taylor Mendez (.316) and Taylor Clancy (.308) are enjoying solid starts.

VALLEY OAK LEAGUE

Records: Ceres (8-1, 0-0), Oakdale (6-1, 0-0), East Union (6-2, 0-0), Sierra (5-1, 0-0), Sonora (5-3, 0-0), Central Valley (2-7, 0-0), Manteca (0-2, 0-0), Weston Ranch (0-3, 0-0).

Pitching: Often among the best leagues in the district, top to bottom, the VOL could be there again with Ceres' Vaneza Hoover (6-1, 0.78; 77 Ks in 45 innings) leading a strong set of pitchers. She's 4-0 against the CCC this year. ... Oakdale has sophomore Brianna Parker (4-0, 0.48) and Andrea Lutz (2-1, 1.68) taking turns on the rubber, and they average a strikeout an inning. ... With the departure of The Bee's Player of the Year, EU pitcher Erin Arevalo, Kourtni McCall (3-0, 0.88; 24 Ks in 24 innings) has taken over the pitching role. ... Sierra's Gabrielle Hawkins (5-1, 0.51) has lost only to Buhach Colony.

Batting: EU C Brittany Lamar (.417, 2 3Bs, 4 RBIs) and OF Jillian Goulart (.375) hope to deliver some life to an offense that has struggled the last couple of years. They'll need to compensate for the loss of Arevalo, now playing at the University of Georgia. ... Oakdale's MacKenzie Taylor (.500, 12 RBIs) is swinging the league's best bat, but the Mustangs also get production from Parker (.727), Danielle Onken (.423) and Marissa Toy (.304, 10 runs). ... Ceres OF Mika Johnson (.536, 10 runs) leads an offense averaging 4.5 runs a game, and Hoover (.444) and Amanda Lampley (.407, 3 2Bs) are threats. ... CV has a solid sophomore with INF Jessica Berndt (.467, 8 runs), while Sierra's Marissa Vallejos (.429) and Monica Morado (.357, 6 runs) are off to good starts.

TRANS-VALLEY LEAGUE

Records: Escalon (11-1, 1-0), Hughson (6-2, 1-0), Modesto Christian (6-3, 1-0), Riverbank (3-2, 0-1), Ripon (2-4, 0-1), Ripon Christian (1-6, 0-1).

Pitching: Escalon ace Caitlin Brooks (8-0, 0.42; 93 Ks in 43 innings) has seven consecutive shutouts and two no-hitters in her last three starts. ... A number of the top hurlers are gone, but their replacements have stepped up: MC turned to sophomore Brittani McGue (4-2, 0.71; 65 Ks in 49 innings) and freshman Paris Andrews (2-1, 1.00), while Hughson has junior Alyssa Coehlo (4-1, 0.00).

Batting: MC's Sloan McHann (.536, 7 2Bs, 8 RBIs, 8 runs) is the league's top hitter as well as its top 1B, and she's often driving in Rachel Borges (.617, 13 runs), McGue (.394) and Andrews (.310, 6 runs). ... Escalon has outscored foes 62-9 — its lone loss is 3-2 to Hilmar and it beat two-time defending section D-IV champion Bear River 5-3 last weekend — with 3B Lounette Jackson (.444, 7 runs) and Breanna Brodie (.421, 6 RBIs) setting the table. The Schmidigs, C Katie (8 RBIs, 7 runs) and 2B Casey (7 runs), and Brooks (.333, 8 RBIs) round out a talented lineup. ... Hughson's Erica Mireles (.423, 8 RBIs) and Krista Bava (.286, 6 runs) can do damage. ... Ripon can play a role with Kirsten Mortimer (.375) and Paulina Ceja (.316, 4 RBIs, 6 runs), if it's pitchers can deliver.

WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Records: Hilmar (8-0, 1-0), Patterson (4-3, 1-0), Gustine (1-2, 1-0), Central Catholic (3-3, 0-1), Livingston (4-5, 0-1), Orestimba (1-3, 0-1).

Pitching: The WAC had two of the district's best last year — Orestimba's Kara Spinelli and Hilmar's Courtney Ramos — so there are questions to be answered. ... Hilmar sophomore Alicia Paine (7-0, 0.16; 76 Ks in 43 innings) beat Escalon last week, vaulting her and the 'Jackets into section title contention after two-time defending D-V champ Orestimba was hit hard by graduation. ... Patterson Mandy Sifuentes has a 0.45 ERA and 3 shutouts this season, and the Tigers have depth with Kayla Souza and sophomore Jessyca Rico.

Batting: Hilmar's Paine (.464, 3 3Bs, 14 runs) and C Stesha Brazil (.519, 10 RBIs, 13 runs) fuel one of the district's top offenses. Teammates SS Ashlee Lee (.367, 11 RBIs, 8 runs) and OF Brittany Balswick (.435, 4 2Bs) make it tough on pitchers. ... Central SS Allison Lenzora (.385, 4 RBIs) and freshman Jackie Zalinsksi (.308, 5 runs) hope to pump life into the Raiders' offense. ... Patterson has one of the area's top catchers in 3-year starter Samantha Kramer, and junior Kiana Weinzenheimer is a tough hitter (.500, 4 2Bs, 6 RBIs). Coach Dave Klein says it's one of the strongest lineups he's had.

SOUTHERN LEAGUE

Records: Waterford (2-2, 1-0), Turlock Christian (1-2, 0-0), Le Grand (1-3, 0-0), Mariposa (0-3, 0-0), Delhi (0-0, 0-0), Denair (0-7, 0-1).

Batting: With its uncertain pitching, there will be plenty of hitting in the SL. ... TC's trio of C Angelina Martin (.643, 5 RBIs), P Stephanie Huber (.615, 8 runs, 8 RBIs) and SS Candice Balswick (.438) lead the Eagles' attack. ... Denair needs Courtney Nutcher (.333, 5 runs), Sam Dornan (.300, 5 RBIs) and Wendy Makin (.316, 6 RBIs) to come out swinging.

— Statistics are for this season; records are through Monday's games
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