SportStars Magazine

NorCal Softball Preseason Top 20

We See No Reason To Doubt The Dynasty That Is Huskies Softball, But A Few Other Defending Section Champions Look Just As Daunting •

1. Sheldon-Sacramento (30-2 in 2017)
Sticking the Huskies dynasty right back where we last left it seemed an easy call. Though Sheldon graduated the 2017 Sac Bee Metro Player of the Year, Maci Fines (.496, 61 hits, 47 runs, 25 extra base hits), and the SportStars All-City Team Female Athlete of the Year, Taliyah Miles (.422, 25 RBI, 21-1, 1.33 ERA, 174 strikeouts), there’s still an embarrassment of riches. Seven of the team’s top hitters return, including senior infielder Shea Moreno (.430, 43 hits, team-best 38 RBI) and sophomore outfielder Sam Oliver (.405, 34 hits, 35 RBI). Replacing Miles in the circle will be junior Grace Owen, who just happened to go 7-0 and allowed only three earned runs over 47.2 innings for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champions.

Foothill sophomore ace hurler, Nicole May

2. Foothill-Pleasanton (26-4)
Virtually all the big guns are back for the defending North Coast Section Div. I champions. That includes the all-sophomore battery of catcher Courtney Beaudin (.453, 10 HR, 37 RBI) and Oklahoma-committed ace Nicole May (.460, 10 HR, 36 RBI, 0.84 ERA, 293 strikeouts in 191 innings). Mix in a middle infield of junior shortstop Hope Alley and sophomore second baseman Hailey Hayes, as well as a senior DH/INF Lauren Hermes who hit .409 a season ago, and the Falcons look especially daunting.

3. Archbishop Mitty-San Jose (22-6)
Bay Area News Group Peninsula Player of the Year Lauren Lopez (.469, 45 hits, 27 runs) graduated, as did RBI leaders Rebecca Ortiz and Lauren Lozano. But ignore three-time defending Central Coast Section champs at your own risk. Junior two-way star Hannah Edwards (.391, 22 RBI, 11-2, 1.67 ERA) and senior slugger Mariah Dewey (.327, 17 RBI) lead the way.

James Logan slugger, Aliyah Yates.

4. James Logan-Union City (23-4)
Lost in the narrative of how young the NCS Div. I champions from Foothill were last year, was just how young the runners-up were. Legendary coach Teri Johnson returns seven players who had 10 RBI or more in 2017, which includes senior Aliyah Yates (.403, 31 hits, 25 RBI). All three pitchers return as well, including Camille Rodriguez (18-3, 1.15 ERA).

5. Tracy (28-4)
Oregon-bound senior shortstop Rachel Cid may very well be the most electric player in the SJS. She hit .593 with 54 hits, 38 runs and 55 RBI in leading the Bulldogs to a Div. I runner-up finish (to Sheldon) last year. Tracy lost just five seniors from that 18-player roster. Two were pitchers, but junior Karina Faasisilla went 10-2 with a 1.08 ERA in 77.2 innings.

6. Amador Valley-Pleasanton (23-5)
Missouri-commit Danielle Williams (.382, 17 RBI, 17-1, 0.34 ERA, 231 strikeouts) returns for her fourth and final season with the Dons. That alone makes them very dangerous.

 

7. Carlmont-Belmont (26-3)
A Cal-Hi Sports multi-purpose All-State selection a year ago, Mailey McLemore (.483, 43 hits, 34 runs, 34 RBI, 13-1, 1.39 ERA) returns to lead the Scots in 2018. She’ll have quite the returning supporting cast as well.

8. St. Francis-Mountain View (23-8)
The Lancers’ 2017 worst-to-first storyline was as feel-good as it gets. The CCS Open Div. runners-up (to Mitty) won’t sneak up on anyone this season thanks to junior tandem Hannah Damore (.373, 42 RBI) and Jordan Schuring (.359, 22 RBI, 14-6, 1.71 ERA).

9. Benicia (29-2-1)
SJS Division III defending champs have plenty of returning talent. Seniors Grace French and Adriana Chavez, and junior Amanda Ajari each hit .460 or better in 2017. Ajari and French combined to go 10-0 and allow just five earned runs.

10. Concord (22-7)
The Minutemen started five freshmen in an NCS Div. II final that they won 17-1 last season. Their window to domination could be open for quite some time.

THE NEXT 10
11. East Union-Manteca (28-5)
12. Elk Grove (22-6-1)
13. San Benito-Hollister (23-5)
14. Freedom-Oakley (16-7)
15. Napa (21-8-1)
16. San Marin-Novato (23-2)
17. St. Mary’s-Stockton (25-6)
18. Heritage-Brentwood (18-5)
19. Sierra-Manteca (16-9)
20. Livermore (17-8)

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