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Ex-Bulldog star welcomes challenge of transforming CV into a winner
Former Bulldog star pitcher Kristen Ghimenti wants to bring consistency to Central Valley High School's varsity softball team.

Ghimenti has been tapped to direct the Hawks during their sixth year of competition. Central Valley's previous three leaders were Margo Arzola, Veronica Giddens and Manny Bejaran.

"As a new coach, I want to see them improve and grow," Kristen said. "I know the girls want to do well. They have a sense of pride in the school."

The Hawks lost all 10 of their games in Western Athletic Conference play last season.

Central Valley's overall league record through its first five seasons was 13-58.

The Hawks experienced a near breakthrough season in 2009. Central Valley posted a 10-17 overall record and finished in fourth place in the Valley Oak League (6-8) under Giddens' direction.

"It would be amazing to see this program have success," Ghimenti said. "We definitely have talent and leadership on our team. That will help."

The Hawks bring back four players from a season ago, including Katie Carpenter (Sr., C), Malynda Lomeli (Jr., SS), Lexy Cordova (So., P/OF) and Sarah McElroy (So., P/2B).

Central Valley's newcomers are Savannah Garza (Sr., 1B), Riehanna Lucero (Sr., OF/2B), Amparo Galvan (Sr., OF), Hannah Baker (Jr., 3B), Vanessa Dias (Jr., OF/1B), Courtney Ahart (So., OF), Jasmine Henson (So., OF), Lindsey Alexander (Fr., OF/2B) and Lynaya Lerma (Fr., OF).

"I'm not a big yeller," Ghimenti said while talking about her coaching style. "I don't think it helps. It makes them nervous. I know positive reinforcement will keeps their spirits up."

Kristen played varsity softball at Ceres High for three seasons (2005-07).

She was named VOL Pitcher of the Year as a senior. She had an 8-6 record, 0.69 ERA, 171 strikeouts and four shutouts in 91 innings as the Bulldogs secured their 21st consecutive playoff berth and placed third in conference play. Ceres High beat Central Valley's inaugural team twice (13-1, 10-0).

In 2006, Ghimenti earned second-team, all-conference honors as Ceres High claimed its second straight Modesto Metro Conference title. She started at second base.

Kristen started in the outfield for the 2005 MMC champion Bulldogs.

Ghimenti continued her pitching career with Bethany University.

She was an assistant on Ceres High head coach Donnie Donaldson's staff in 2011.

Donaldson coached Ghimenti for one season.

"I have a lot of respect for Donnie," Kristen said. "He's very knowledgeable."

Ghimenti agreed to coach softball at Central Valley after being hired to teach English.

"It's a great opportunity," said Ghimenti, who will be assisted by Brandy Cordova and stat keeper Amparo Galvan. "The girls know my past. Softball was such a big part of my life."

Kristen will try to bring stability to Central Valley softball.

The Hawks dropped 22 of 23 league games the past two seasons.

Central Valley has never beaten crosstown-rival Ceres High.

"We have goals," Ghimenti said. "But it takes time for a program to grow."