Ceres High hosted a National Signing Day party for standout softball player Vianney Perez on Dec. 3.
More than 50 people attended the ceremony just after noon inside the school’s cafeteria, including Perez’s parents, brothers, grandparents, aunt, friends, coaches and teammates.
“It was a special day,” said Perez, who earned a scholarship to Cal State Monterey Bay. “As soon as I walked in, I felt the love. I’m super blessed. I couldn’t have done this without my parents and coaches.”
Monterey head coach Andrea Kenney offered Perez a scholarship after watching her play for the San Jose Sting 16-and-under travel softball team at a PGF Qualifier Tournament in Southern California in June.
“I started looking into the school last year when they showed interest,” Perez said. “I went to one of their camps in January of my junior year. She (Kenney) saw me play during the summertime and made me an offer the same day. I knew she was there. But I thought she was there to watch someone else. I had a solid day. I hit two homers in front of her.”
Perez signed with the NCAA Division-II Otters on Nov. 13.
“It was my No. 1 school. I really wanted to go there. I always enjoyed being in Monterey when we went on family trips.”Vianney Perez
“It was my No. 1 school,” Perez said. “I really wanted to go there. I always enjoyed being in Monterey when we went on family trips.”
Perez took her first official visit to Cal State Monterey in September.
She ate dinner and watched volleyball and men’s soccer matches with the team during the overnight stay.
“I could picture myself living there,” she said. “It felt like home.”
A middle infielder at Ceres High, Perez was recruited to play third base at Monterey.
The Otters amassed a 29-25 overall record and finished fifth in the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings (23-17) in 2019. Monterey reached the semifinals of the CCAA Tournament.
“She (Kenney) told me she wants me to start,” Perez said. “I’m going to have to work for it. I play third base for my travel team. It feels natural to me.”
Perez will major in psychology.
“They have a high graduation rate,” said Perez, who had a cumulative GPA of 3.67 through her junior year at Ceres High. “In the 15 years she (Kenney) has coached there, all of her girls have graduated in four years except one. Academics always come first.”
Ceres High’s softball program will be sending another player to the college ranks.
Perez follows in the footsteps of Nicole “Sis” Bates (Washington), Mahlena O’Neal (Georgia), Callie Nunes (Concordia University), Rayohna Sagapolu (San Jose State) and Shania Evans (Humboldt State).
“We have a lot of role models that have graduated from Ceres High,” Perez said. “Callie took me under her wing my freshman year. She was such a good teammate. I never got to play with Sis Bates. Everyone talks about her. It’s inspiring.”
Perez filled a key role while leading Ceres High to the Western Athletic Conference championship and a 19-6 overall record last spring.
She earned first-team all-league honors.
Perez batted .351 from the plate with four homers, five triples, seven doubles, 20 RBIs and 29 runs in 25 games.
“I’ve always wanted to play softball in college,” Perez said. “It took a lot of hard work. It didn’t happen overnight. Me and my family have made a lot of sacrifices for this. I would go out and practice the hottest days of the summer and the coldest days of winter with my dad. He’d hit me groundballs and pitch me front-toss. Softball has always come first. I didn’t go to formal freshmen and sophomore year. I missed a lot of football games. I love softball. It’s more than a game. It builds character. It’s shaped me into what I am today.”