Modesto Junior College’s softball program took a major step in the right direction under second-year leader Donnie Donaldson’s guidance this spring.
Three years removed from not fielding a team due to a lack of interest, the Pirates amassed a 13-6 overall record and won three of six games against Big-8 competition during the 2021 COVID-shortened season.
“I’m very proud of what our girls accomplished,” said Donaldson, a 1989 Ceres High School grad who previously had successful coaching stints at Waterford High School and his alma mater. “It’s the first time MJC has had a winning record since 2012.”
Modesto JC’s roster featured 13 players.
Returnees Leticia Gutierrez (Escalon), Aubrey Garcia (Patterson), Taylor Brewer (Waterford), Cheyenne Juarez (Gregori), Jana Fontana (Beyer), Alyssa Donaldson (Waterford) and Morgan Keeney (Waterford) all had productive seasons.
Newcomers Trinity Ortiz (Modesto High), DaShanae Parker (Modesto High), Steele Shumway (Pitman), Kaycee Creek (Ceres High), Angelica Bernal (Enochs) and Emmilee Boles (Dakota Ridge) also contributed.
“They just wanted to win,” coach Donaldson said. “They had a never-quit mentality. They worked extremely hard.”
Alyssa and Kaycee are Donaldson’s daughters. He also coached both, along with Brewer and Keeney at the prep level.
“It’s a dad’s dream to see your kids playing together at the college level. It was a cool experience. The two of them work really well together.”Donnie Donaldson
“It’s a dad’s dream to see your kids playing together at the college level,” he said. “It was a cool experience. The two of them work really well together.”
Gutierrez, a sophomore outfielder, hit .480 with three doubles, three RBIs, 11 runs and two stolen bases.
Garcia, a sophomore catcher/third baseman, hit .426 with one homer, 10 doubles, 14 RBIs, 12 runs and four stolen bases.
Brewer, a sophomore utility player, hit .375 with five doubles, 14 RBIs, 21 runs and two stolen bases.
Juarez, a sophomore infielder, hit .350 with one triple, six doubles, nine RBIs, 10 runs and five stolen bases.
Fontana, a sophomore shortstop, hit .328 with six doubles, seven RBIs, 19 runs and seven stolen bases.
Donaldson, a sophomore first baseman/designated player, hit .327 with one homer, four doubles, 22 RBIs, four runs and one stolen base.
Keeney, a sophomore outfielder, hit .296 with five doubles, 11 RBIs, 13 runs and two stolen bases.
Ortiz, a freshman outfielder, hit .447 with one homer, four triples, two doubles, four RBIs, 19 runs and 12 stolen bases.
Parker, a freshman outfielder, hit .429 with one triple, one double, six RBIs, 11 runs and five stolen bases.
Shumway, a redshirt sophomore first baseman, hit .426 with one double, 15 RBIs and 10 runs.
Creek, a freshman utility player, hit .356 with one triple, two doubles, 11 RBIs, 16 runs and three stolen bases.
Bernal, a freshman utility player, hit .333 with three doubles, seven RBIs, 11 runs and four stolen bases.
Boles, a redshirt sophomore pitcher who played high school softball in Colorado, filled the most important role on the team.
She compiled a 12-5 record with a 4.56 earned-run average, 56 strikeouts, 13 complete games and one shutout.
The Pirates posted a team batting average of .375 with three home runs, seven triples, 49 doubles, 223 hits, 123 RBIs, 157 runs and 47 walks in 19 games.
Modesto JC has three assistant coaches in Dave Ward, Joel Broumas and Randy Richardson.
Donaldson, Ward and Broumas also coached together at the high-school level.
“I have a very good coaching staff,” coach Donaldson said.
Modesto JC closed out the 2021 season with a two-game sweep (10-2, 7-2) of Chabot College on June 5
The Pirates upset Fresno City College during the second week of the season.
Modesto Junior College earned 8-1 and 5-2 victories against the Rams.
Fresno City won the previous seven meetings dating back to 2012.
Modest JC split with College of Sequoias during the opening week of the season.
The Pirates won the second game, 9-6.
Modesto JC lost the first game, 5-4, in extra innings.
The Pirates snapped a 13-game losing streak dating back to 2005 versus the Giants.
“We did phenomenal things this year,” Donnie Donaldson said.
Modesto JC struggled to a 2-37 overall record and placed last in the Big-8 Conference (0-24) in 2018.
The Pirates didn’t field a team in 2019 because of a lack of numbers.
Modesto JC finished 7-11 during Donaldson’s first year as head coach. The season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Donaldson formerly coached at Waterford (2016-19) and Ceres High (2007-14). He also helped develop talent for Stanislaus District high schools through his Ceres-based Tri-County Smash travel softball organization.