Vianney “Oli” Perez was a major contributor during her first season with the Cal State Monterey Bay softball team.
The 2020 Ceres High School grad/freshman shortstop started all 60 of the Otters’ games this spring.
“My coaches and teammates really believed in me,” she said. “That kept me going.”
Perez batted .267 from the plate with six home runs, three triples, 10 doubles, 26 RBIs, 30 runs and 15 walks.
She ranked second on the team in homers, triples and total bases (80), third in doubles, runs, walks and slugging percentage (.465), fifth in RBIs and at-bats (172), and sixth in hits (46).
“I didn’t focus on individual performance,” Perez said. “I tried to do what I could to help my team win and have fun. Being there for your teammates is what matters.”
Perez reunited with former Bulldog teammate Andrea Duran (class of 2018).
They were teammates for two seasons at Ceres High.
Duran had one single, two runs and one walk in seven games.
“We’re pretty close,” Perez said. “I didn’t think we’d play together again. It was cool reconnecting.”
Perez filled a key role as Cal State Monterey Bay amassed a 37-23 overall record, advanced to the finals of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship Tournament and secured a berth to the NCAA Division-II West Regional.
The Otters made an improbable run to the CCAA finals after finishing fifth in conference play with an 18-18 mark during the regular season.
“This season, we went pretty far,” Perez said. “All of us stepped up. All of our hard work we put in throughout the year really paid off. We all played for each other. I’m excited for next year.”
Recruited to play third base for the Otters, Perez embraced changing positions.
“It was an adjustment,” she said. “It’s different from high school. At the college level, they demand a lot out of you. It’s a lot of responsibility. I had to step up. It’s a lot easier having good teammates by your side.”
Perez made her debut with Cal State Monterey Bay following an 18-month break from competition.
Her senior year at Ceres High was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.
CCAA play was canceled in 2021 due to concerns related to COVID-19.
“It was hard at first,” Perez said. “I’ve been playing softball season after season my whole life. Coming back, I was grateful. You can’t take anything for granted. Being part of a college team is a great experience. I’ve grown a lot as a player and person.”
Perez was a four-year standout in softball at Ceres High.
She helped lead the Bulldogs to 51 wins, two conference titles and three playoff appearances.
Ceres High won league championships her junior and freshman years.
In 76 career games, Perez posted a batting average of .414 with 99 hits, 16 homers, 11 triples, 20 doubles, 72 RBIs and 83 runs. She had slugging and on-base percentages of .790 and .478.
Perez earned first-team all-conference honors her junior, sophomore and freshman years.
She would have been in the running for the 2020 WAC Most Valuable Player award had the season not been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Perez hit .636 (14-for-22) with two homers, two triples, six RBIs and 14 runs while batting leadoff for the 6-2 Bulldogs during the 2020 COVID-shortened season.
Perez had on-base, slugging and on-base plus slugging percentages of .724, 1.090 and 1.815, respectively.
She ranked first on the team in batting average, hits, homers, triples, RBIs, runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage.
“I did the best I could for my coaches and team,” she said.