Monarch’s baseball and softball season is gearing up.
By Vicente Vitela, Sports Editor
After barely missing the playoffs last year, Valley College’s baseball and softball teams are out to prove that there a legit playoff contender.
Head coach Dave Mallas looks to leave last year’s sub 500 record behind him as the team sits at 7-7 so far. This year’s team features an even mixture of freshmen and sophomores. However, the Monarchs are loaded with arms as Mallas can call on 16 eligible pitchers to take the mound. On the offensive side, the team can only send six left-handed batters to the plate, which could pose a problem against left handed pitching.
In a little more than a dozen games, the Monarchs offense boasts a .285 batting average, which is better than last year. As a team, Valley ranks eighth in the conference in triples with seven. Additionally, Monarch base runners have stolen 29 stolen bases, which ranks ninth. Old school baseball is the way this offense is run as they have been hit by a pitch 28 times so far this year, 11th in the league, and the team ranks second overall in sacrifice flies with 13. This offense likes to get the runners on, get them over, and get them home.
The pitching staff for the Monarchs has not reached its full potential, as they currently have an ERA just short of 5, which ranks 42nd overall, while averaging 5.5 strikeouts per game. Despite a somewhat high ERA, the staff has kept the opposition to just a .264 batting average, while allowing only four walks a game. On the defensive side, there is definite room for improvement as the team is averaging 2.5 errors a game, and according to the California Community College Athletic Association, has only turned seven double plays this season. Despite its seven losses so far, only one has been by more than four runs, meaning this is a scrappy team, and if teams fail to put them away early, they might be sorry.
Lady Monarchs softball and Head Coach Greg Venger haven’t gotten off to the start they would have hoped as they currently have a 4-10 record, and despite the poor record, the Monarchs are still just four games out of second place. The 2020 softball team has undergone a complete facelift as there are only two sophomores on this team compared to 12 freshmen. One quiet new addition to the coaching staff is last year’s ace Hannah Moulton, who comes on as the pitching coach replacing Nicole Toven.
The offense for Valley currently features a .319 batting average, a .389 on base percentage, and a .448 slugging percentage. Despite these solid numbers, the team has only been able to score 70 runs (thirty-fourth), while collecting 108 hits (twenty-eighth) as a team. For the Lady Monarchs, they have four players batting over .300, freshmen Citlali Mendez (.333), sophomore Elizabeth Flores (.410), freshmen Tea Carbajal, and Freshmen Valery Ramirez (.463). There are some bright spots on a team that outside of the top four batters are struggling to find their groove at the plate.
For the young Lady Monarchs’ pitching staff, they are struggling to find the zone as they currently have a 8.47 ERA which ranks 70th overall and are only holding the opposition to a .361 batting average. The pitching staff has allowed eight home runs thus far and has only struck out 10 batters across 14 games. On the defensive side of the diamond, the team have only turned three double plays so far while committing 32 errors. The season is still early and with 90 percent of the team composed of freshmen, there will certainly be growing pains.