The members of Ceres High’s and Central Valley’s softball programs are grateful to be playing again.
The Bulldogs and Hawks had their 2020 campaigns cut short this past spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Some of these girls haven’t swung a bat in 13 months,” Ceres High head coach Mike Corsaut said. “I’m just glad they get to have a season. It’s a luxury.”
“It feels good to be back,” Central Valley sophomore standout pitcher/shortstop Janessa Godinez said. “I missed being around the girls. We’ve always been really close.”
Ceres High will strive to wins its second Western Athletic Conference championship in the past three seasons.
The 2020 Bulldogs (6-2) didn’t get a chance to defend their title because of COVID-19.
“It’s fun to be able to coach girls that love the game,” Corsaut said. “They know what the expectations are. The legacy and tradition continue with them.”
Central Valley will look to build on its success from a year ago.
The Hawks won three of their final four games en route to compiling a 5-5 overall record during the 2020 COVID-shortened season.
."We have some really solid players. There should definitely be more wins than losses.”Coach Regina Selfridge
“I expect us to do better than we did last year,” Central Valley head coach Regina Selfridge said. “We have some really solid players. There should definitely be more wins than losses.”
Ceres High returns a host of talent from last year’s team, including Brooklyn Heffernan (Jr.), Megan Yorba (Jr.), Cheralyn Durossette (Sr.), Angelique Cochran (Sr.), Bethanie Thornberry (Sr.), Jaime Olvera (Jr.), Kimberly Rodriguez (Jr.) and Sehren Martinez (So.).
Celeste Leon (Jr.), Alayana Delatorre (Jr.), Isabela Giraldes (Fr.) and Aryana Maldonado (Fr.) are newcomers.
“We got girls that are like Swiss Army knives,” Corsaut said. “They can play multiple positions and play them well. That’s key, especially for high school softball.”
Heffernan, a standout hitter, outfielder and pitcher, was voted WAC MVP at the varsity level as a freshman in 2018.
She made a verbal commitment to Stanislaus State in September.
Central Valley welcomes back nine players from a season ago, including Godinez, Gabby Benanati (Sr.), Sammy Espinoza (Sr.), Isabella Pelayo (Sr.), Julia Roton (Jr.), Soriah Corona (So.), Victoria Lloyd (So.), Micaela Martinez (So.) and Allie Peterman (So.).
Dottie Frings (Sr.), Kylie Maines (Jr.), Priscilla Hamidat (Fr.), Emily Pulido (Fr.) and Jannet Valencia (Fr.) are new to the team.
Godinez batted .620 (18-for-29) from the plate with one double, eight RBIs, 18 runs and six walks during her first season with the Hawks.
She had an on-base percentage of .729.
She ranked first on the team in batting average, hits, runs, walks and on-base percentage.
“We have a pretty solid squad,” Godinez said. “Our experience is going to be one of our strengths. A lot of us play travel ball outside of school.”
Ceres High and Central Valley will compete in the WAC South this spring, along with Johansen, Los Banos and Pacheco.
The WAC was split into two divisions for COVID-safety and travel reasons.
The Hawks relocated from the Central California Conference.
“Our goal is to always win league,” Corsaut said. “That’s the level we’re at.”
“There’s some good competition,” Selfridge said. “I just want the kids to play and get better.”
“Being able to see new teams is really cool,” Godinez said. “We get to play Ceres High three times. We’re pretty excited about that. A successful season for us would be improving.”