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Pitcher off to Humboldt State
Vaneza Hoover has accepted a softball scholarship to Humboldt State, a California Collegiate Athletic Association Division II school.

The Ceres High senior signed her national letter of intent with the Lumberjacks on Saturday at the Rainbow Fields Sports Complex. Family members and Academy pitching coach Jimmy Dyson were in attendance.

"I've always wanted to go to a four-year college ever since I could remember," Hoover said. "I'm going to do my best out there every chance I get. If I don't start as a freshman, I'll do whatever I can to help the team out, even if it's cheering from the bench."

Vaneza turned down a full scholarship to Division I Cal State Bakersfield.

"I felt that I'd have a better chance at succeeding there (Humboldt)," she said. "The school itself is amazing. I can't wait to go there. I'm going to take full advantage. I'm not going to waste their time. My goal is to lead the team to another championship and further my education."

Hoover has been taking pitching lessons from Dyson since the age of 12.

"He helped me in so many ways," she said. "If I didn't go to him, I don't know where I'd be. He's a great instructor."

Vaneza was named Valley Oak League Pitcher of the Year as a junior. She compiled an 18-10 record with a 2.08 ERA, 199 strikeouts, six shutouts and two no-hitters as the Bulldogs extended their string of consecutive playoff appearances to 23. Hoover also batted .388 (33-fo-85) with four homers, five triples, five stolen bases, 15 runs and 24 RBIs.

Vaneza's senior season came to an abrupt end due to unspecified disciplinary reasons. She posted an 8-2 record with a 0.75 ERA, 115 strikeouts, one no-hitter and four shutouts.

"Out there on the mound is where I was happiest the most," Hoover said. "I miss it a whole bunch. The incident should have never happened. I'm trying to better myself."

Vaneza wants to see her former Bulldog teammates succeed. East Union, Ceres High, Oakdale and Sierra are currently vying for the VOL's two postseason berths.

"I'm supportive of them 100 percent," Hoover said. "I have confidence in them."

Vaneza has remained busy since being dismissed from her high school team.

"I've been working out and running every day," she said. "Summer ball is right around the corner. I'm sure the hard work is going to pay off."