By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Georgia-bound ONeal headlines Ceres Highs WAC honors
Bulldog Mahlena ONeal has been voted Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player. She filled a major role while leading the Bulldogs to their third consecutive WAC crown. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High's Mahlena O'Neal impacted the game with her bat and glove.

The University of Georgia bound power-hitting catcher was named Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player in a vote by the league's varsity softball head coaches this past month.

O'Neal shared the award with Los Banos junior Allie Waltman.

"It's really special," said Mahlena, who earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior, sophomore and freshman. "It proves I've been working hard these last four years. I became more comfortable and confident with everything. It took a team effort to get it."

O'Neal ranked first in the WAC in homers (7), doubles (7), RBIs (29) and slugging percentage (1.152), second in batting average (.543) and on-base percentage (.571), and 11th in runs (7) during her final season with the Bulldogs.

"Obviously, you know how good she is," said Angela Durossette, head coach of the Bulldogs for the past two years. "She was very deserving. She had a good season for us. I'm happy for her."

Ceres High junior Callie Nunes was named WAC Pitcher of the Year.

"In my opinion, it was a no-brainer," Durossette said. "Just look at her stats."

Nunes ranked first in the WAC in wins (10), earned-run average (0.22) and no-hitters (2), and second in strikeouts (114).

Callie earned second-team all-conference honors as a sophomore.

"She's a really hard worker," O'Neal said. "She finally got what she deserved. Our connection with each other changed the most. We understood what we both wanted."

Added Durossette: "Catching Callie is not easy. Her ball moves a lot."

Ceres High's Nicole Bates (Sr.), Rayohna Sagapolu (Jr.), Mackenzie Veuve (Sr.) and Sabrina Baisdon (Sr.) were selected to the WAC First Team.

A standout shortstop, Bates ranked first in the WAC in batting average (.578), triples (3), runs (24) and on-base percentage (.608), second in RBIs (18), stolen bases (8) and slugging percentage (.866), and fourth in homers (1) and doubles (4).

Rayohna ranked first in the WAC in doubles (7), third in homers (2), RBIs (16) and on-base percentage (.562), fifth in runs (16) and slugging percentage (.809), and sixth in batting average (.500) and stolen bases (3).

Sagapolu started at third base on defense.

Mackenzie ranked first in the WAC in doubles (7), third in homers (2), fourth in slugging percentage (.813), fifth in batting average (.512), on-base percentage (.551) and RBIs (14), and seventh in runs (10).

She started at first base.

Sabrina ranked fourth in the WAC in doubles (4), fifth in runs (16), seventh in RBIs (10), eighth in stolen bases (1), 11th in batting average (.442), 16th in on-base percentage (.457) and 18th in slugging percentage (.534).

Baisdon started in center field.

Ceres High's Jessica Arreola (Sr.) and Central Valley's Nayeli Pelayo (So.) both garnered second-team all-conference recognition.

Jessica ranked fourth in the WAC in batting average (.513), fifth in doubles (3), sixth in runs (12) and on-base percentage (.548), 10th in RBIs (7), and 14th in slugging percentage (.589).

Arreola started in right field.

Nayeli ranked second in the WAC in doubles (6), fourth in homers (1), sixth in batting average (.500) and slugging percentage (.781), ninth in on-base percentage (.515), 10th in RBIs (7) and 12th in runs (6).

She played catcher.

Central Valley centerfielder Yescenia Godinez (Sr.) was an honorable-mention pick.

Godinez collected seven hits and four runs.

Ceres High and Los Banos shared the WAC title with identical 11-1 records.

The Bulldogs outscored WAC opponents 140-6 en route to claiming their third consecutive conference crown.

Central Valley (1-11) tied for last place in the confernce standings with Livingston.

Los Banos' Dustin Caropreso was voted WAC Coach of the Year.

"I'm okay with that," Durossette said. "It didn't matter who coached our team. They were going to win league. As long as the girls were recognized, that's all I care about."