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Hawks seek improvement
Central Valley took its lumps in its first season of varsity softball. The 2008 Hawks are determined to improve on last year's 1-24 campaign.

"We can't do any worse," head coach Veronica Giddens said.

Central Valley's roster consists of 16 players, including seven seniors in Taylor Cruz (outfield), Alisha Diaz (pitcher/utility), Lahna Dixon (utility), Melissa Gonzales catcher/third/first), Crystal Gutierrez (outfield), Magali Reyes (outfield) and Kassandra Yori (infield), three juniors in Jazmin Castillo (third/outfield), Brianna Johnson (outfield) and Jayme Sprague (catcher/third/first), two sophomores in Tiffany Reeves (pitcher/utility) and Alex Serna (second/outfield), and four freshmen in Kiana Lallana (catcher/utility), Alyssa Long (short/second/outfield), Vicki Ochoa (pitcher/utility) and Jessica Berndt (utility).

"We're going to do a lot better," Diaz said. "We have experienced players and we all get along. Last year was the past."

The Hawks return three all-league players: Gonzales, Diaz and Yori.

Melissa made the Valley Oak League first team.

Alisha and Kassandra garnered second-team honors.

Diaz, Central Valley's ace pitcher, struggled mentally last season after being struck on the inner thigh by a line drive in a non-conference game against Downey.

She took nine days off from pitching following the frightening incident.

"This year, I'm ready to show the team I can pitch again," Alisha said. "I'm definitely not scared anymore."

"That's a hard thing to come back from," Giddens said. "I was pitcher."

Lallana, Long, Ochoa and Berndt, Central Valley's talented quartet of freshmen, provide versatility.

"They all can basically play anywhere," Giddens said.

Sprague, a transfer from Santa Cruz, will bolster the Hawks' lineup.

The Hawks were outscored 166-9 en route to posting an 0-14 record in conference play in 2007.

Central Valley's lone victory came against Millenium at the Tracy Tournament. The Hawks posted a 10-1 victory over the Falcons.

"I think we'll have a very competitive team this year," Giddens said. "We'll definitely win more games."

"We actually have a chance at winning half of our games," Diaz said. "We have a defense and some strong hitters."

Crosstown rivals Central Valley and Ceres High will meet for the third time ever on April 15.

The Bulldogs beat the Hawks twice last year, winning by a combined 22 runs.

"It's a game we're looking forward to," Diaz said. "This time it shouldn't be a blowout the way it was last year."