Here are the numbers for the Lodi High softball team: there are 12 players on the roster. Eight return from last year’s team that earned a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff berth. Five are now seniors.
Now those are good numbers for Lodi coach Michelle Souza, who has led her teams to the playoffs two of the last three seasons. This year, the Flames want more Tri-City Athletic League wins and a deeper run in the playoffs.
“It’s just a total different vibe this year,” Souza said. “We’re happy, we’re excited. They all support each other, and this what makes this a great team this year.”
Entering today’s league game against West at the Lodi Softball Complex, Lodi is 1-0 in the TCAL and 4-0. In all of its wins, Lodi has scored at least four or more runs.
“I really like the way we’re playing this year,” Souza said. “Every game we’ve gotten better. We’re working hard, and we’re not going to stop.”
Last spring, Lodi went 10-5 in the TCAL last spring that led to a second place finish behind defending league champion Tracy, and 13-12 overall.
This year’s seniors include pitcher/first baseman Danielle Pfenning, a four-year starter. In the circle, Pfenning has a 3-0 record with 14 strikeouts. At the plate, she has a .571 batting average.
Another four-year starter is center fielder Marissa Fabian, who started at left field last spring. Fabian, a three-sport athlete in basketball and volleyball, has a .385 batting average and eight RBIs. She also has two of the Flames’ four home runs.
The other three seniors are catcher/outfielder Haley Price, second basemen/outfielder Madison Faul and Harlie Litton.
“This year’s seniors, honestly, have been the most exciting to be coaching,” Souza said. “I haven’t had that in a long time.”
Ashlee Toy is the only junior on the Flames’ roster this season. Another starter since she was a freshman, Toy pitches and plays outfield. She currently has a .385 batting average.
Lodi has another arm for the circle in sophomore Johnna Schroeder, who also plays shortstop. Another sophomore is third baseman/infielder Shelby Katzakian, who started as freshmen last spring.
Part of the roster includes sophomore Caitlin Ahlbach, who plays catcher and third base. She was on the Lodi junior varsity team last spring. Rounding out the Flames’ roster are three freshmen; infielder/catcher Kayleigh Coberly, infielder/outfielder Andrea Lira and second baseman/third baseman Kalie Toy, younger sister of Ashlee Toy.
“We’re excited that they have a great attitude,” Souza said. “We’re excited that they’re coachable, and when you’re coachable and you have a good attitude, it makes for a great game.”
Tracy, Souza notes, will be the team to beat in the TCAL again this year. She feels Lincoln, West and the Flames’ rival in Tokay should also battle on the diamond.
Currently, Tokay is 0-2 in the TCAL and 3-5 overall. Last season, the Tigers were 3-12 in the TCAL,10-13.
Tokay coach Aaron Misasi has no seniors on this year’s team. He likes the players’ positive attitude toward practices and games.
“We’ve got a great group of kids,” Misasi said. “Hard-working kids. They come out and compete. They give it everything they’ve got.”
Misasi has eight players returning this year. Leading the way are juniors in center fielder Simone Medeiros and catcher/shortstop Mia Misasi, Aaron’s daughter. Medeiros, who is batting .615, has made a verbal commitment to play at Stephen F. Austin State University and Mia Misasi, who has a .429 batting average, also has a verbal commitment at University of Nevada-Reno.
The six players returning, all juniors, include two sets of twins; Emily and Megan Walker, both of whom are pitchers and catcher/shortstop Hannah Hauschildt and second baseman/outfielder Annika, both of whom are three-sport athletes in soccer and girls golf. Kayly Pau, a first baseman/outfielder, and pitcher/third baseman Katherine Jackson are the other juniors.
On the Tigers’ roster are junior Jasmine Garcia, sophomores Violet Young and pitcher Alyx Hodge, and freshmen Chloe Alaniz, who is batting .333, and catcher Rachel Gibbons.
The Warriors are 0-1 in the Sierra Valley Conference and 0-5 overall. Last spring, Galt went 5-10 in the SVC and 7-14 overall.
Galt coach Carli Walden has four seniors returning this spring; senior catcher/first baseman/outfielder Rachel Vermeltfoort, catcher/shortstop/outfielder Sophia Pate, third baseman/outfielder Natalie Torres and pitcher/first baseman/outfielder Hailey Jaime.
On the Warriors’ roster are six freshmen; Samantha Graham, Alyssa Hardwick, Nevach Pate, Alexia Pauling, Kaylyn Matthews and Emily McCalla. There are three juniors in Haley Sanchez, Briannah Pena and Yuina Okubo, a foreign exchange student from Japan. Okubo and Sanchez were on the Galt High girls basketball team.
The Hawks, the defending SVC champions, are currently 0-1 in the SVC and 1-5. That’s not the norm for Galt’s second high school, which went 14-1 in the SVC last spring and 19-5, and has also won the last three conference crowns.
Liberty Ranch coach Shauna DalBianco eight players; seniors Ashley Hubert, Haley Ward, Kharizma Lathipanya-Kham, Emilee Mort, Amanda Yebra and pitcher Audrey Brookins.
Third baseman Presli Kooyman, a sophomore, started as a freshman for the Hawks last spring. This year, she’s playing third base and shortstop.
Because of rain and field conditions, Elliot Christian, which earned a section’s D-VII playoff berth last spring, has yet to play a game.
But on Monday, the Eagles, who went 4-6 in the Central California Athletic Association and 5-11 last spring, are scheduled to host Modesto Christian.
Returning for Elliot coach Mike Pontius is senior shortstop Bailey Correia, who will be going to Holy Names University in Oakland, an NCAA Division II campus, on a scholarship. Last spring, Correia batted .630 with 31 RBIs, five home runs and a .918 fielding percentage last spring.
Joining Correia on the Eagles’ 10-player roster are third baseman Kylie Whittle, first baseman/outfielder Katie Pettersen and outfielder Jaden Pritikin, all sophomores. One of the Eagles’ newcomers is freshman Samantha Tucker, who will be pitching.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.