By Melisa Valenzuela
The softball team wrapped up the spring season with an overall record of 19-19 and a conference record of 9-13.
“Last year was a little bit better in terms of record, but this year was a good year too,” Erika Blanco, head coach of the ELAC softball team said.
The Huskies were off to a rough start. They lost the first seven games of the season, three of which were conference games.
One factor that lead to the losses was that a majority of the team was made up of freshman players who were new to the college softball experience.
“We had 16 freshman and that’s a challenge because they’re all young. They don’t know what to expect,” Blanco said.
Introducing the freshman to another level turned out to be one of their challenges throughout the season.
However, the Huskies managed to bring it together mid season for a seven game winning streak starting with an 11-1 win against Rio Hondo.
“I think in the middle of the season was probably our best time. Seeing the girls overcome a zero and seven start was a highlight for me. We were on a roll,” Blanco said.
The Huskies went on to win nine out of their last 19 games and did not qualify for postseason play.
Despite this, freshman first baseman Puatausaga “Pua” Johnson was named to the All-South Coast Conference North First Team and led the conference with a .460 batting average and a .522 on-base percentage.
Four other Huskies were honored at the end of the season as well.
Sophomore shortstop Julie Granadeno, freshman catcher Melanie “Baby Shark” Torres and sophomore third baseman Jennifer Rivera made the All-SCC North Second Team.
Sophomore pitcher Majisty Shomo received honorable mention. Both Blanco and assistant coach Cindy Lucero are looking forward to next season.
“I’m excited. We’re bringing in a lot of freshman recruits,” Lucero said.
In addition to the recruits, 16 freshman will return as sophomores, making next season’s team more experienced and less intimidated by the big college stadiums that they get to play in.
“These 16 are definitely going to be our leaders next year,” Blanco said.
Blanco and Lucero also mentioned how important it is for the rest of the school to support the softball team because the girls sacrifice a lot to play.
“They practice 30 hours a week, some of them have jobs, they run, they lift and they carry a full time schedule,” said Blanco.
One way to support the team is to participate in fundraisers. Softball equipment is expensive and there are more than 20 girls on the team.
“Cleats for 20 girls is about $1500,” Lucero said. Another way to support the team would be to go to a game. “If any students can come out and catch a game, that would be awesome,” Blanco said.