Regardless of a season-opening 15-0 loss to Mariposa on March 2, and a 11-1 loss to Roosevelt High on March 4, the attitude of this season’s Yosemite High softball team is positive. Coaches and players are optimistic about improving on last year’s 0-10 North Sequoia League record.
The team, under the direction of first year coach Dave Maynez, is comprised of five seniors, two juniors, five sophomores, and three freshman.
“Even after those two losses, the team has remained positive about the season, Maynez said. “They know they have some work to do and what they need to work on to improve to be more competitive.”
Leaders of the team are senior co-captains Lynette Combs (shortstop), fresh off a long basketball season, and Katie Lemos (first base).
Combs, who was named to the NSL all league second team last year, has made a verbal commitment to play softball next year at NCAA D-II Humboldt State. She batted .333 last season with 10 RBIs, an on base percentage of .416, and an on base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of .799.
“Before going off to college I want to help this Badger team all I can this season,” Combs said.
Lemos batted .228 with an OPS percentage of .516.
Also returning this season is junior catcher Katie Thompson who lead the team in hitting last season with a .435 batting average (including four doubles and a home run), 10 RBIs, an OPS average of .999, and an on base percentage of .451.
Senior volleyball standout Shelby Biscaglio is playing high school softball for the first time this season, and dealing with some minor stomach issues as she will play second base.
“I didn’t want to just sit around the end of my senior year, so I tried swimming and that didn’t work, and track is not my thing, so I decided to play softball,” Biscaglio said. “I also did not want my health issues take over my athletic abilities. I’m happy to be on the team.”
Biscaglio said her mother played high school softball.
“After we talked about me playing this season I decided to give it a try,” Biscaglio said. “After all she has done for me, I want to give my mom the joy of watching me play.”
Maynez, who also serves as the Yosemite High School criminal justice instructor and the director of campus safety, said his priorities are to improve the play of the Badgers, upgrade the equipment and softball fields, and to support both the Yosemite High School Softball Boosters, and the youth girls softball league.
“My number one priority this season is not about wins and losses, but how I can make a positive impact in my player’s lives,” Maynez said. “I love this game and I want to teach it to student-athletes who are hard working, have a team concept, and have heart. I expect my players to first work hard in the classroom which translates onto the field.”
The team will be without the services of senior Amy Whitcomb, last year’s all league pitcher who had the second highest batting average on the team at .426 as a junior. She also had an on base percentage of .544, and scored a team-leading 14 runs. She was the team’s starting pitcher in every game but two last season recording 121 strike outs, but made a decision not to play this year.
The team’s two pitchers this season are senior Michaela Gray, and junior Courtney Herrera.
Gray has pitched in two games to begin the season. Against Mariposa, she took a hard line-drive shot to her stomach and then continued to finish two more innings. Despite the pain and soreness of the hit she sustained, she came back two days later and pitched the entire game against Roosevelt.
“This shows her toughness in the circle which will be a must in the tough NSL,” Maynez said.
Herrera has pitched off and on for the Badgers varsity team since she was a freshman.
“Courtney has not been with the team the first two games of the season due to an illness, however she’s ready now,” Maynez said.
Assisting Maynez is 2014 Yosemite graduate Mariah Lincoln, 2001 YHS graduate Bevin Sturnberg (Balaguy), Joseph Whitcomb, and pitching coach Rhiannon Dewey, a 2001 Badger alum.
The team finished the season last year with an overall 5-20 record, 0-10 in the North Sequoia League.
This year’s JV coach is Matt Haynes, who will be assisted by Joline Vanbalinghem, and Brent Cunnings.
The team plays in Caruthers March 10, and will participate in the Jackson Tournament Friday and Saturday.