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Hawks will rely on returning, new talent for softball in 2017
Nayeli Pelayo earned second-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors during her sophomore year on Central Valleys varsity softball team. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Regina Selfridge has been promoted to head coach of Central Valley's varsity softball program.

Selfridge directed the Hawks' junior-varsity team last spring.

"I am very excited to get the opportunity to coach at CV," she said. "This is a talented and fun group of young ladies. I'm looking forward to watching them grow over the season."

Selfridge replaces Kristen Ghimenti, whose coaching career spanned five years with Central Valley.

The Hawks posted a combined record of 10-50 in Western Athletic Conference play.

Central Valley enjoyed its best season to date in 2014. Fourth-place Central Valley had a 5-7 mark as Ghimenti was voted WAC Coach of the Year.

Central Valley and Livingston tied for last place in the 2016 WAC standings with identical 1-11 records.

"Coach Selfridge has similar coaching styles as coach Ghimenti does when it comes to practices and I feel like she is going to do just fine," Hawks junior catcher Nayeli Pelayo said. "She knows what she's doing and she is a very kind-hearted person that's willing to do anything we need to achieve our goals."
Central Valley returns eight players from last year's team, including Pelayo, Gaby Bonales (Sr.), Cheyenne Brincat (Sr.), Marissa Camarillo (Sr.), Autianna Baxter (Jr.), Alyssa Maeyama (So.), Megan McElroy (So.) and Brianna Quiroz (So.).

Newcomers Kimberly Robles (Sr.), Giuliana Gutierrez (Fr.), Scarlett Lloyd (Fr.), Kaydee Peterman (Fr.) and Lizbeth Silva (Fr.) round out Central Valley's 13-person roster.

Pelayo was selected to the WAC Second Team her sophomore year.

Nayeli ranked second in the WAC in doubles (6), fourth in homers (1), sixth in batting average (.500) and slugging percentage (.781), ninth in on-base percentage (.515), 10th in RBIs (7) and 12th in runs (6).

"Our team this year can be very good if we all play to the best of our ability," Pelayo said. "One strength that our team has is our whole lineup. From top to bottom, we have girls that can hit very well and get on base when we need them to be on. We also have more travel ball girls on the team than we had before and that could help us a lot by having girls that have played the sport for quite a while."

Central Valley will face Ceres High, Livingston, Patterson, Los Banos and Pacheco during the 2017 WAC season.

Ceres High, the reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III champs, have placed first the past three years.

"The expectation is for the girls to give 100 percent win or lose," Selfridge said. "They should come off the field knowing they gave their all. We never want to walk away thinking we should have given more."

The Hawks have had five different head coaches during their 12-year history: Selfridge, Ghimenti, Margo Arzola, Veronica Giddens and Manny Bejaran.

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

The Hawks have never qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

"That is the end goal," Selfridge said while talking about the possibility of leading Central Valley to its first-ever postseason appearance.

Added Pelayo: "I feel like our team is very talented. With hard work and staying focused on our goal, we will be able to make it to playoffs."