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Hawks desire a breakthrough season
Central Valley returns its top all-round player from a year ago in sophomore pitcher/slugger Scarlett Lloyd. Lloyd will be the Hawks ace pitcher for the second straight season. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley's varsity softball team struggled to a 2-16-1 overall record in 2016.

The Hawks won five times as many games last spring, finishing with 10 total victories.

Central Valley will target additional improvement in 2018.

"We have really high expectations for this year," head coach Regina Selfridge said. "We really want to make playoffs. We have the talent to succeed. We just need to work together as a team every inning, every batter and never let up when we're ahead. We should always play like we're down by one run."

The Hawks return three all-league performers from last season's team, including sophomore pitcher/third baseman Scarlett Lloyd, senior catcher Nayeli Pelayo and junior utility player Brianna Quiroz.

Lloyd was one of the top hitters in the Western Athletic Conference as a freshman.

The first-team all-league selection ranked second in home runs (3), fifth in batting average (.516), sixth in runs (13) and doubles (2), seventh in stolen bases (4), and eighth in RBIs (10).

She compiled a 2-8 record with a 6.41 ERA and 54 strikeouts at pitcher.

"Scarlett is a great all-around player," Selfridge said. "Her success comes from a personal drive to be the best. She has set goals for herself and has had them for years. Her number one goal is to go to UCLA to play softball. We would very much like to help her achieve her goals."

Pelayo, a senior catcher, earned all-league honors for the third year in a row in 2017.

The second-team honoree batted .353 with one triple, four doubles, eight RBIs, eight runs and five stolen bases.

Quiroz, a junior utility player, was also selected to the WAC Second Team.

She batted .457 with one double, eight RBIs, five runs and three stolen bases.

Sophomore first baseman Giuliana Gutierrez also rejoined the team.

She batted .333 with one RBI, six runs, four stolen bases and three walks as a freshman.

Elizabeth Robinson (senior outfielder), Angelina Knights (junior outfielder), Arianna Muniz (sophomore outfielder), Vanessa Oliver (sophomore outfielder), Gabby Benenati (freshman infielder) and Isabella Pelayo (freshman infielder) round out Central Valley's roster.

Knights, Muniz and Oliver competed at the junior-varsity level a year ago.

Robinson missed the entire 2017 varsity season for health reasons. She had to fully recover from a ruptured appendix.

The Hawks posted a 10-13 overall record and finished in fourth place in the WAC standings (2-8) last spring.

Central Valley tallied 55 runs against conference competition.

The Hawks scored just 27 times the previous season.

Central Valley has a strong desire to increase its win total for the second year in a row this season.

"We have tremendous leadership on the team," Selfridge said. "We have excellent talent. Every player knows the strengths and weaknesses of each individual player. One of the things I really love about these girls is they truly want to see each other succeed. They help each other."