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Central Valley High School suffered multiple slaughter-rule losses en route to an 0-14 finish during its first varsity season of softball in 2007.

The Hawks closed the competitive gap last year but still finished in last place in the Valley Oak League (1-13).

Expect a much-improved showing from the 2009 squad.

Central Valley returns seven players from last year's team, including Jessica Berndt (1B, So.), Vicki Ochoa (P/UTL, So.), Alyssa Long (SS, So.), Jayme Sprague (C/UTL, Sr.), Jazmin Castillo (IF/OF, Sr.), Tiffany Reeves (P/1B, Jr.) and Alexandra Serna (IF, Jr.)

Alyssa Meshach (OF, So.), Central Valley's top newcomer, played varsity soccer as a freshman.

Victoria Bevan (UTL, Jr.), Amandah Fleming (OF, Jr.), Rebecca Juarez (UTL, Jr.), Ashley Sewell (OF, Jr.), Harsimranjot Kanda (UTL, So.) and Alicia Yori (OF, So.) are also first-year varsity players.

Berndt and Ochoa earned all-conference honors last spring.

Jessica made the VOL first team. She batted .292 with 19 hits, 17 runs and one double.

Ochoa, a second-team honoree, pitched and played third base.

She led Central Valley to its first-ever VOL win. Vicki allowed six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks as the Hawks posted a 7-2 victory over Sonora.

Ochoa hit .333 (13-for-39) with one homer, a triple, a double and three runs.

Long, Sprague and Castillo were also major contributors a season ago.

Long collected 13 hits, two homers, four runs and two stolen bases in 59 at-bats.

Jayme batted .368 with 14 singles and four runs.

Jazmin had one homer, two doubles, 10 singles and five runs.

Nobody's expecting much from the Hawks this year because of their past struggles the last two seasons (4-45 combined record).

Central Valley could play spoiler in 2009 if they learn to finish.

The Hawks lost five VOL games by four runs or less last year, including twice by one to Weston Ranch (1-0, 4-3). Central Valley squandered leads against the Cougars, Oakdale Mustangs and Manteca Buffaloes.