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Pernetti, DeLeon elevate their play
Rebecca DeLeon
Ceres High sophomore softball standout Rebecca DeLeon earned second-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High’s Josh Pernetti and Rebecca DeLeon have been named the Courier’s Male and Female Newcomers of the Year, respectively, for their outstanding play during the spring sports season.

Just a sophomore, Pernetti had a productive first full season of varsity baseball with the Bulldogs.

“I was dedicated all season,” Josh said. “I put in the work. It helped me meet some of my goals. Fielding, I thought I did well. It was only my second year catching. I wanted to be more consistent on offense. I plan on doing better next year.”

Pernetti was selected to the Western Athletic Conference Second Team.

He ranked first in the WAC in homers (2), triples (1), doubles (5), RBIs (13) and slugging percentage (.821), second in walks (7), third in hits (10), runs (8) and on-base percentage (.500), and fifth in batting average (.357).

Josh struck out just three times.

"Confidence was a big key. It comes when you put in the work."
Josh Pernetti

“I was younger than everyone,” he said. “I was trying to find my role and earn respect. Confidence was a big key. It comes when you put in the work. I know I put in more work than anybody I’m going to face. I do all kinds of things four to five times a week. My brother (Jimbo) is my trainer.”

Pernetti batted .344 from the plate on the year with two homers, two triples, seven doubles, 24 RBIs and 13 runs. 

He had slugging and on-base percentages of .609 and .500, respectively.

Josh’s on-base plus slugging percentage was 1.109.

He committed just one error.

“The ultimate motivation is I want to play pro ball,” he said. “The only way of doing that is devoting everything to the sport. Getting stronger and in better shape have been big focuses of mine. I also want to improve my power numbers.”

A second-year varsity player, DeLeon filled an even bigger role on Ceres High’s softball team as a sophomore pitcher/third baseman/right fielder.

Rebecca earned second-team all-conference honors.

She batted .354 on the year with six doubles, five RBIs, seven runs and one stolen base.

“Last year, I was an incoming freshman,” she said. “I didn’t know any of the other players besides Vianney Perez. I was trying too hard. I wasn’t relaxed. I did much better this season because I had more fun. I wasn’t tense and nervous. I felt more comfortable.”

DeLeon collected four wins, 37 strikeouts and one save in the circle.

She compiled a 2-0 record against crosstown-rival Central Valley. Rebecca totaled 10 strikeouts as the Bulldogs improved their head-to-head record versus the Hawks to a perfect 24-0.

“It was really challenging because of the shoes I had to fill,” DeLeon said. “I knew there was going to be a lot of pressure. Callie Nunes was a great pitcher. I brought some of the things I learned from her freshman year. She taught me how to be a better teammate and take responsibility for your actions.”

Josh Pernetti
Sophomore Josh Pernetti batted .344 from the plate with two homers, two triples, seven doubles, 24 RBIs and 13 runs during his first full season of varsity baseball with Ceres High. - photo by Dale Butler