Central Valley High School’s junior-varsity softball team surprised its head coach this spring by compiling a 19-4 overall record and taking first in the Central California Conference standings with a perfect 12-0 mark.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Central Valley leader Tony Cordova said. “All I cared about was they had fun, and learned how to play and love the game. Wanting a decent record wasn’t the ultimate goal. It just happened. The wins came naturally.”
The Hawks collected wins against Buhach Colony, Atwater, Merced, Golden Valley, El Capitan and Patterson during the CCC season.
Central Valley topped second-place Buhach Colony (9-2-1) by scores of 18-8 and 12-7 in league play.
“Buhach Colony had a really good team,” Cordova said. “It was a challenge both games.”
The Hawks almost split with Merced. Central Valley won the first meeting 13-7 and rallied for a 9-6 victory during the second contest.
“That was the most stressful game we had.".Tony Cordova
“That was the most stressful game we had,” Cordova said.
The Hawks compiled identical 3-1 records at the Ceres Tournament and Rainbow Classic.
Central Valley lost to Hughson and Hilmar during the preseason.
Liyah Carrillo, Jayden Corona, Ariel Ereso, Brianna Espinoza, Kendall Fleeman, Julie Lopez, Brianna Munoz, Annalyse Perry, Gaby Ramirez, Lexie Rendon, Itzel Romero and Adelina Sandoval made up Central Valley’s roster.
“They wanted to be out there,” Cordova said. “They wanted to learn and grow.”
“It took several games to find the pieces that fit in certain spots,” he added. “I didn’t even have a catcher at the beginning of the season.”
Rendon was team captain.
Sandoval and Corona both starred at pitcher.
“Those two really grew this season,” Cordova said. “We wouldn’t have been able to do what we did without them. If you can throw strikes and hard, you can dominate.”
The Hawks shored up their defense during the course of the season.
“With a lot of work, they became pretty solid,” Cordova said. “It got to a point where we weren’t making any errors. It was a big difference from the beginning of the year until the end.”
Central Valley also showed drastic improvement on offense.
“Whenever they got good pitches, they capitalized,” Cordova said. “That was our strategy for hitting.”