Ceres High grad Rayohna Sagapolu had a breakout year with San Jose State’s softball team this spring.
The sophomore shortstop batted .276 on the season with two triples, six doubles, 16 RBIs, 29 runs and 26 walks in 50 games.
“The goal was to make an impact,” she said. “I think I did.”
Sagapolou improved her offensive production across the board.
She hit .183 with three doubles, five RBIs and eight runs in 39 games during her first season with the Spartans.
“Freshman year was a struggle,” Sagapolu said. “Softball wasn’t new but I had to readjust to everything else. There’s a lot of personal responsibility. You have to learn how to be an adult when the last 18 years were catered. Nobody is going to help you.”
Sagapolu started at a difference position on defense in 2019.
Ceres High grad Rayohna “I didn’t expect to get moved from second base to shortstop,” she said. “I haven’t played that position since I was 1"Playing shortstop gave me more confidence. It made me want to be more of a leader for the younger girls on the team.”Rayohna Sagapolu
Ceres High grad Rayohna “I didn’t expect to get moved from second base to shortstop,” she said. “I haven’t played that position since I was 11 years old. It was nice to face that challenge. Playing shortstop gave me more confidence. It made me want to be more of a leader for the younger girls on the team.”
Sagapolu was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week on May 7.
“It was an honor,” said Sagapolu, who batted .625 with four RBIs, seven runs, four walks and a .750 on-base percentage while helping San Jose State compile a 3-0 record at New Mexico.
Sagapolu filled a major role as the 2019 Spartans amassed a 37-16 overall record and finished in second place in the conference standings (17-7) for the second year in a row.
“I’m really proud of how we did as a team,” she said. “We were young and had success. It shows how great we can be next year. I definitely wouldn’t sleep on us.”
Sagapolu and the Spartans will be vying for the MWC championship and a berth to the NCAA Division-I Tournament in 2020.
“We’re going to lose a few starters,” she said. “But we still have talent. We intend on taking first place (in league). I definitely see us getting there (to the NCAA tourney). We all have to work together.”
Sagapolu enjoyed her best season to date with San Jose State following a sub-par freshman campaign.
“It came down to having more confidence at the plate,” she said. “Hitting is a mental game. At this age, you have a bunch of experience. You just have to fine-tune everything. You can’t be afraid of competition. Our coach makes it clear if a freshman comes in and is better than you she’ll take your position.”
Sagapolu is majoring in Justice Studies at San Jose State.
She wants to become a corrections officer.
“I’m just not there for softball,” she said. “I’m there to get my education.”
Sagapolu starred on Ceres High’s varsity softball team for four seasons.
She was voted Most Valuable Player of the Western Athletic Conference during her senior year.
She earned first-team all-WAC honors as a junior, sophomore and freshman.
Sagapolu posted a career batting average of .429 with 13 homers, four triples, 34 doubles, 112 RBIs and 107 runs.
She compiled a 21-10 record with 197 strikeouts and two no-hitters at pitcher.
Sagapolu helped lead the Bulldogs to 86 victories, one Sac-Joaquin Section championship and four WAC titles.